alive

The Living Factory " Mutations / Creations 3 "

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The archaeology of living and artificial life is on display at the Centre Pompidou, which presents the recent works of some fifty creators and research from scientific laboratories in a forward-looking manner. Its very material is evolutionary, with some works being involved in a process of growth or degeneration. Until 15 April 2019, "Mutations / Creations 3" brings together design, visual and digital arts through a collective exhibition at the crossroads of disciplines, "La Fabrique du Vivant". 
 
Ahe annual debate on creation and innovation at the Centre Pompidou, "Mutations / Creations" examines the links between the arts, science, engineering and innovation. The cycle brings together artists, engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs, all the protagonists of the sensitive and intelligible, who influence and transgress our present.
For its third edition, the event brings together the visual and digital arts, design and speech, through a collective exhibition "The Living Factory", the first solo and monographic exhibition in Europe of the Brazilian artist Erika Verzutti, as well as the third edition of the Vertigo forum, led by Ircam.
 
In the digital age, there is a new interaction between creation and life sciences. The notion of "living" today is presented in a form of artificiality where matter itself is explored. Biotechnology is now used as a medium by artists, designers and architects. If digital simulation tools allow the re-creation of life, the question that arises today is: how to program life?
"La Fabrique du Vivant", in partnership with Ircam, questions the changes in the concept of nature, which is inseparable from technological production. The exhibition retraces an archaeology of the living and artificial life. Resolutely prospective, it presents the most significant creations and innovations in the field of art, design and architecture through the works of some fifty creators. Its material is évolutif ; some works are undergoing a process of growth or degeneration. Among the hundred or so projects on display, some have been specially designed for the occasion. Ircam presents Biotope, an installation by the composer Jean-Luc Hervé, interacting in the visitor's journey, like a living organism.
 
Between biology and genetics, design proposes an interdisciplinary approach, like a biotechnological artefact where living matter has informed the form. Design now uses "biomanufacturing", new "disruptive technologies" of living things. Bio-materials, made from biological organisms (mushroom mycelium, bacteria, etc.), have given rise to innovative objects such as the Half Life Lamp (2010), a bioluminescent lamp made from genetically modified material by Dutch designer Joris Laarman. Sustainable objects by designers Jonas Edvard and Maurizio Montalti (Officina Corpuscoli) explore the potential of mushroom mycelium, or Eric Klarenbeek's biodegradable objects made from microalgae, to name but a few. To create an in situ architectural structure specially designed for the exhibition, the American architect David Benjamin (The Living) uses a new constructive principle in which bricks grow and are assembled by bio-welding.
 
The micro-organisms thus become an architectural medium and building material. Architects implement models based on the self-generation processes of matter, simulating the evolutionary growth systems of living organisms. They develop new composites, made of both living and synthetic materials (Neri Oxman's Aguahoja project with his laboratory at the MIT Media Lab) to develop ecological projects (energy efficiency, depolluting materials, biophotovoltaics, etc.). The future of architecture lies between genetic engineering and synthetic biology in order to produce new forms of nature between the "digital ecosystem" and living systems.
The architectural scale facilities presented here are true biotechnological ecosystems. The London architects of EcologicStudio have built a 3D printed structure like a "cyber garden" incorporating photosynthetic micro-algae. Marcos Cruz's BiotA Lab at University College London presents bio-receptive concrete panels designed to promote the growth of microorganisms, mosses and lichens in urban environments. The French agency X-TU is conducting research around a bio-inspired architecture, convinced that living organisms are the biotechnological revolution of tomorrow.
 
The congruence of life and technology crystallized in the field of artistic creation in the mid-1990s. In 1998, Eduardo Kac promoted transgenic art, transforming natural organisms by inoculating them with synthetic genes or transferring genetic material from one organism to another in order to create new forms of life. In the early 2000s, in Australia, The Tissue Culture & Art Project (Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr) explores the technologies of the living as an artistic medium through the implementation of a new object/subject, which is equivalent to "semi-living".
 
Sculpture H.O.R.T.U.S. XL Astaxanthin.g

 
In this wake, Amy Congdon's cell regeneration research or that of designer Hongjie Yang who created Semi-Human Vase (2015) from human cells, crossing a new frontier. Between nature and technology, a new "semi-living" artefact has thus appeared, the result of robotic manufacturing and simulation software for living organisms. Artists are studying the hybridization of human and plant cells (Spela Petric, Elaine Whittaker) in the age of new technologies or creating self-generative works whose form is constantly evolving (Hicham Berrada). Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Christina Agapakis and Sissel Tolaas have recreated the smell of plants that disappeared in the 19th century. The iconic Crystal Works (2008-2012) by Japanese artist and designer Tokujin Yoshioka is also a highlight of the exhibition. He has developed a unique manufacturing process that allows the development of organic forms through a crystallization process to create objects such as the Venus Flesh.
 
A time line retraces an archaeology of living and artificial life, integrating among others naturalist photographs by Jean Painlevé and Laure Albin Guillot from the 1930s and a video work by Karl Sims. German artist Andreas Greiner exhibits photographs capturing life by electron microscopy. Finally, projects resulting from scientific and medical research are also on display.
Source: Curators of the exhibition, Marie-Ange Brayer and Olivier Zeitoun

 
La Fabrique du vivant - Gallery 4 - Centre Pompidou, Paris - Until 15 April 2019
 
Header photo : " Mycelium Chair " © Eric Klarenbeek, Studio Klarenbeek & Dros
 

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