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‘Shifting Perceptions of Life – the Biological Art of SymbioticA’ lecture by Oron Catts 23.5.
As our knowledge of life and our technological abilities to manipulate it grows; our cultural perceptions of life are increasingly becoming incompatible with what we do to it. In other words; the growing application of engineering-logic onto life requires new ways of cultural engagement with as well as scrutiny of scientific and technological concepts of life.

SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, is uniquely situated to allow hands

The focus on experiential engagement with life led SymbioticA to develop programs that would allow artists and designers access to labs and techniques usually reserved only to scientists and engineers. These programs include residencies, workshops, academic courses and public engagement through exhibitions and forums. Projects researched at SymbioticA range from the molecular to the ecosystem and anything in between.

SymbioticA sets out to provide a situation where interdisciplinary research and other knowledge and concept generating activities can take place. It provides an opportunity for researchers to pursue curiosity-based explorations free of the demands and constraints associated with the current culture of scientific research while still complying with regulations. SymbioticA also offers a new means of artistic inquiry, one in which artists actively use the tools and technologies of science, not just to comment about them, but also to explore their possibilities.

This paper will explore the trajectory of one area of research within SymbioticA, an area that is broadly known as regenerative medicine, and more particularly deals with the regeneration of tissues outside of the body. This journey will encounter some stories that will illustrate the need of cultural scrutiny of biomedical developments.

**Oron Catts is Director of SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia. He is also a Visiting Professor of Design Interaction, Royal College of Arts, London. Oron Catts is an artist, researcher and curator whose work with the Tissue Culture and Art Project (which he founded in 1996) is part of the NY MoMA design collection and has been exhibited and presented internationally. In 2000 he co-founded SymbioticA, an artistic research laboratory housed within the School of Anatomy and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia.

Under Oron’s leadership, SymbioticA has gone on to win the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Art (2007) and became a Centre for Excellence in 2008. In 2009 Oron was recognised by Thames & Hudson’s 60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future book as one of five 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”. Oron was a Research Fellow in Harvard Medical School and a visiting Scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University.

From August 2012 till February 2013 Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr (Tissue Culture and Art Project) will be visiting researches and professors at Aalto University / Future Art Base / Biological Arts. This presentation is organised by Industrial and Strategic Design programme and Future Art Base / Biological Arts.

Shifting Perceptions of Life – the Biological Art of SymbioticA
Presentation by Oron Catts** / Artist, Director of SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts
Wednesday 23rd May, at 11-13
Aalto Arts, Arabia, lecture room 885


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