by Quimera Rosa
a theoretical-practical bio-hacking/bio-art workshop
presented as part of EcoFutures Festival
Tue 9 April – Sat 13 Apr 2019
The Art Pavilion
Clinton Rd, London E3 4QY
£70-80 for the 5 day workshop / includes material costs / only 10 places available
“SF. String Figures. Science Fact. Science Fiction. Speculative Fabulation. Speculative Feminism. So Far.” (D. Haraway, 2016)
“Bioart is a ‘tactical biopolitics’” (B. da Costa and K. Philip, 2008)
“If Foucault understood biopolitics as the disciplinary forms for the optimization, coercion, and control of biology, then bioart organizes itself around them to divert, derail, or expose those domination regimes and ‘life’ management systems.” (E. Kirksey and S. Helmreich, 2010)
With a commitment to creative self-experimentation, open-source data and biomedical research, Quimera Rosa’s workshop will utilise bio-hacking DIY techniques to challenge binary identity principles that often separate humans from their non-human relations.
This workshop is based on two years of biomedical research arising from the artist’s project Trans*Plant, and the ethical issues they encountered through its development. Their research has led to the creation of two parallel processes. Firstly, “My disease is an artistic creation,” aims to replicate and release a medical technique called Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) to treat condylomata of HPV. The second strand develops a protocol for the first intravenous chlorophyll in humans. During this workshop participants will be introduced to the legal and ethical frameworks for working with biological materials, as well as techniques and tools to work with cell cultures. With this knowledge, and through the use of various biomedical techniques, each participant will create a new symbiotic being based on a composite preparation for plant cells and mycorrhizal fungi with the contribution of human material (cells, hormones or bacteria).
The workshop is aimed at people who are interested in the (de)construction of identity or who want to experiment with it. No prior knowledge is required as we encourage a curious and experimental approach.
Trans*Plant is a transdisciplinary project, initiated by Quimera Rosa in 2016, that utilizes living systems and self-experimentation. It is a process that involves a ‘human > plant’ transition in various formats. The project juxtaposes disciplines such as arts, philosophy, biology, ecology, physics, botanics, medicine, nursing, pharmacology and electronics. The project is involved in the current debates surrounding the Anthropocene from a perspective which is not based on ‘human exceptionalness and methodological individualism’ (Donna Haraway), but that addresses the world and its inhabitants as the product of ‘cyborg processes’, of ‘becoming with’ (Vinciane Desprets) and of ‘sympoiesis’ (Haraway).
The greatest problem with the dominant strand of ecology is that it is based on a notion of ‘nature’ which is separate from humanity and the rest of the universe. Such discourses of ecology lead to colonial and binary relations between nature and culture, and an almost infinite list of other binomials founded in modern Western thought: man / woman, white / non-white, straight / queer, science / witchcraft, adult / child, normal / abnormal. The second term of each binomial is associated with nature and is therefore subjected to the same regime of violence.
Through heterotrophy carried out to its maximum, a necropolitics is constituted that literally ‘consumes’ everything on this planet. ‘Protecting nature’ seems to be a bad idea… It is strange how it is generally accepted that an individual, delimited by the skin, constitutes a living being, but that the planet as a whole is not regarded in this way. It is time to conceive of ‘ungrid-able ecologies’ (Natasha Myers) and ways of ‘un-greening the green’ (Jens Hauser).
In order to conceive of a non-anthropocentric ecology, we need to move away from identities based on essences and move towards an understanding of identities based on numerous relationships. While a human > plant transition process that includes an intravenous chlorophyll protocol will generate fears, fantasies and judgments, it can nevertheless open up the debate on identity systems. The process of self-experimentation is never an individual process, it is always a collective one. Obtaining a pure molecule of chlorophyll is as hard as getting testosterone from the pharmaceutical and biomedical industry or the legal and health system. All life is patented.
Trans*Plant would not be possible without the different ecosystems of which it is part.
Created in Barcelona in 2008, Quimera Rosa [Pink Chimera]is a nomadic lab that researches and experiments on body, technoscience and identities. Quimera Rosa aims to develop practices that produce non-natural cyborg identities from a transdisciplinary perspective. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s notion of the cyborg defined as: “chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism,” the collective deconstructs sex and gender identities as well as the interactions between body/machine/environment. Their performances produce hybridised beings and chimeras to explore aspects of subjectivity which result from the incorporation of prosthetics.
Informed by transfeminist and post-identitarian discourses, they see bodies as platforms for public intervention that can test the limits between public and private. Sexuality is understood as a technological and artistic creation with which to experiment, hybridize and blur the frontiers between natural / artificial, normal / abnormal, male / female, hetero / homo, human / animal, animal / plant, art / politics, art / science, reality / fiction…
Most of Quimera Rosa’s work is conducted in a collaborative manner and free of patents and proprietary codes. It has been presented in streets, contemporary art centres, bars, galleries, universities, concert halls, colleges, discos, museums, squats, festivals and theatres.
Event link FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/380267745886826/
Quimera Rosa: https://www.facebook.com/quimerarosax// http://quimerarosa.net/
General info: firstname.lastname@example.org
The venue is fully accessible.
With thanks to Raphael Kim, Queen Mary University of London, for the technical support.