NoArk 2007

The Tissue Culture & Art Project - Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr
Vessel Design in collaboration with Marcus Canning

NoArk is a research project exploring the taxonomical crisis that is presented by life forms created through biotechnology. NoArk takes form as an experimental vessel designed to maintain and grow a mass of living cells and tissues that originated from a number of different organisms. This vessel serves as a surrogate body to the collection of living fragments, and is a tangible as well as symbolic ‘craft’ for observing and understanding a biology that combines the familiar with the other.

As opposed to classical methodologies of collection, categorization and display that are seen in Natural History museums, contemporary biological research is focused around manipulation and hybridization, and rarely takes a public form.
To create NoArk we use cellular stock taken from tissue banks, laboratories, museums and other collections. NoArk contains a chimerical ‘blob’ made out of modified living fragments of a number of different organisms, living, in a techno-scientific body. In a sense, we are making a unified collection of unclassifiable sub-organisms.

Like the cabinets of curiosity that preceded the natural history museum’s refined taxonomy so we hope that NoArk will be a symbolic precursor to a new way of approaching the made nature.
NoArk won second prize in prestigious international art competition VIDA 10.0 NoArk video at VIDA 10.0

Acknowledgments:

  • TC&A is hosted in SymbioticA, School of Anatomy and Human Biology, the
    University of Western Australia.
  • The project was assisted by funding from the State of Western Australia
    through the Department of Culture & the Arts.
  • Bioreactor supplied by Wave Products Group/GE Healthcare