Guest lecture: Living Biological Objects on the Pedestal

Lecture topic: Living Biological Objects on the Pedestal

On Thursday the 3rd of May, Oron Catts, is visiting AHO. Catts is an artist, designer, researcher and curator who is consider a pioneer in the field of biological art. He is also the Director of SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Human Sciences, The University of Western Australia and a Professor at Large in Contestable Design at The Royal College of Arts, London.

In this talk he will attempt to situate the existence of biotechnological artifacts within a timeline and scale of global scientific, technological, economic and cultural narratives and endeavours. Catts will unpack the role played by different cultural institutions, research settings, cultural workers, popular media, and industry in their dealings with biotechnological artifacts. 

"It is more than two decades since I began manipulating (fragments of) living systems for artistic ends. During this time the mindsets governing the relationships to the concept of life have shifted quite significantly due to developments in science and engineering. However, it can be argued that artistic practices, which involve the use of scientific and technological tools for the manipulation of life, have played a role in these shifts of approaches to life.  The positioning of biotechnological artifacts within cultural institutions exposed and challenged some social, ethical and ontological issues. For example; traditional social contracts regarding the nature of cultural institutions and their content; artists and their subject matter as well as audience expectations. In addition, the discourse generated by placing manipulated lifeforms within cultural context yielded a range of unanticipated outcomes, which in cases have been different and even contrary to the original intention of the artists."

Short bio of Oron Catts: 
In 2000 he co-founded SymbioticA, at The University of Western Australia. Under Catts’ leadership SymbioticA won the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Art (2007), the WA Premier Science Award (2008). In 2009 Catts was recognised by Thames & Hudson’s “60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future” book in the category “Beyond Design”, and by Icon Magazine (UK) as one of the top 20 Designers, “making the future and transforming the way we work”. Catts was a Research Fellow in Harvard Medical School, a visiting Scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University, a Visiting Professor of Design Interaction, Royal College of Arts, London, and a Visiting Professor at the School of Art, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki. His work was exhibited and collected by museums such as MoMA NY, Mori art Museum, NGV, GoMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Ars Electronica, National Art Museum of China and more. His work was covered by The NY Times, Washington Post, Wired, New Scientist, Time, Newsweek and  other TV, radio, print and online media.


Date: 03. May, 2018
Time: 1:00 pm

Venue: AHO, Auditorium Sverre Fehn
Address: Maridalsveien 29, 0175 Oslo

Contact: Linda Blaasvær