Trust Me, I’m an Artist - Exhibition

Trust Me, I’m an Artist is a group exhibition of nine artists’ works that examine ethical complexities of medicine and biotechnology. The artworks variously engage with gene editing, human tissue culture, the commons of nuclear materials, trans-species communication, the smuggling of biomaterials across continents, fear of contamination associated with the sick body, and the relation between rituals of self-healing and personalised medicine.

It includes documentation of Martin O’Brien’s performance event Taste of Flesh / Bite Me, I’m Yours, commissioned by Arts Catalyst, in which the artist highlights public anxiety around the risk of infection and the surge in depictions of the zombie in popular culture.

Most of the artworks were commissioned as a series of performative events that took place between 2015 and 2017. During these events, the artists were invited to propose and present an artwork that would raise an issue of ethical complexity in front of an audience and a specially convened ethics committee. The committee then deliberated and discussed their decisions with the artist and audience.

The artists and collaborators are Martin O’Brien (GB), Gina Czarnecki (GB) & John Hunt (GB), Anna Dumitriu (GB), Špela Petrič (SLO), Jennifer Willet (CAN) & Kira O’Reilly (GB/FIN) and Howard Boland (GB), Erich Berger (AT/FIN) & Mari Keto (FIN). The artworks were in part commissioned by the projects Trust Me, I’m an Artist, except for those of Erich Berger & Mari Keto and Howard Boland.

The artworks were commissioned by Arts Catalyst, Medical Museion, Kapelica Gallery and Waag Society. Trust Me, I'm an Artist is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

The exhibition is curated by Anna Dumitriu and Lucas Evers, and the project partners Nicola Triscott, Louise Emma Whiteley and Jurij Krpan.

Opening event: 1 – 6 pm, Sat 13 May 2017

1 – 2 pm: Walking lunch and welcome
2 – 4 pm: Statements and discussion
4 – 6 pm: Official opening and drinks


Martin O'Brien is a performance artist whose work and research is concerned with physical endurance, hardship and excess in relation to illness and medicine. Through an engagement with his body in extremis, as one with a severe chronic illness - cystic fibrosis - he explores issues of pain and medicine, discipline, abjection and body politics. As part of the EU project 'Trust Me, I'm an Artist: towards an ethis of Art/Science collaboration', O'Brien will present performance work and discuss the ethical issues with experts drawn from performance art, medicine and bioethics.
Gina Czarnecki is a British new media artist born in Immingham in 1965. She studied painting and film-making at Wimbledon School of Art 1984-87 and a Postgraduate Degree in Electronic Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College Dundee from 1991-2. Her work spans a variety of mediums, including film, video, sculpture and installation art. Through a varied and often unconventional practice her work engages us with the visceral, psychological and biological grey areas, hybrids and developments that provoke questions on so many levels. Her research focuses on technologies and culture.
Dr. John Hunt is a professor of Clinical Sciences and director of the U.K. Centre for Tissue Engineering. John's research focuses on developing breakthrough therapies, devices and technology to repair, replace, augment and regenerate diseased, infected and damaged tissues in humans using material interventions. For Trust Me, I'm an Artist, Dr. Hunt is working with artist, Gina Czarnecki on the project, Heirloom. The project aims to 'grow skin portraits' of the Czarnecki's daughters from their own cells onto traditionally produced glass casts of their faces.
Kira O'Reilly is a performance artist, who graduated from the Cardiff School of Art in 1998. Between 2003 and 2004, O'Reilly undertoook a residency with SymbioticA, a bio-art project based in the department of Human Anatomy at The University of Western Australia.
Dr. Jennifer Willet is an internationally successful artist in the emerging field of BioArt. Her work resides at the intersection of art and science and explores notions of representation, the body, ecologies and interspecies interrelations in the biotechnological field.
Špela Petrič is a Slovenian new media artist and scientific researcher currently based in Amsterdam, NL. Her artistic practice combines natural science, new media and performance. She is interested in all aspects of anthropocentrism: the reconstruction and reappropriation of scientific methodology in the context of cultural phenomena; living systems in connection to inanimate systems manifesting life-like properties; and terRabiology: an ontological view of the evolution and terraformative process on Earth. She extends her artistic research with art/sci workshops devoted to informing and sensitizing the interested public, particularly younger generations.
Erich Berger is an artist, curator and cultural worker based in Helsinki. His interests lie in information processes and feedback structures, which he investigates through installations, performances and interfaces. Throughout his artist practice he has explored the materiality of information and information and technology as artistic material. His current interest in issues of deep time and hybrid ecology led him to work with geological processes, radiogenic ohenomena and their socio-political implications in the here and now. Mari Keto explores the limits of artificats by combining jewellery materials in her installations and portraits. In Keto's work both the conceptual underpinning and a high degree of craftsmanship merge into an artwork. Keto's work is strongly research-based. She engages with her subject matter from various perspectives in order to define her own. Keto explores the tensions and structures of our contemporary culture by portraying icons and symbols predominantly surrounding us. Deriving from cultural histories and pop culture her work examines the distinctions between value and consumption. Keto's multi-layered works contain intemperate realism mixed with humor and irony.
Dr. Howard Boland is a multidisciplinary research-based artist working with biological and digital media. His innovative research in synthetic biology has produced novel visual expressions in bacteria culminating in the UK's first ever art exhibition featuring living genetically modified microorganisms. He is co-director and co-founder of the internationally recognised art-science collective and organisation C-LAB and his interdisciplinary artworks have been exhibited and presented worldwide. With strong technical and creative skills, his experience spans from artistic to scientific contexts where he has led award-winning projects.
Anna Dumitriu is a British artist whose work fuses craft, sculpture and bioscience to explore our relationship to the microbial world, technology and biomedicine. She has an international exhibition profile, having exhibited at venues including The Picasso Museum in Barcelona, The Science Gallery in Dublin, The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Taipei, and The V & A Museum in London. 
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A Public Hearing – Cromer Street Lyric

As part of Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process postgraduate students from Goldsmiths Centre for Research Architecture, University of London have been in residence at Arts Catalyst’s Cromer Street Centre throughout May and June 2016. During this time, they have developed a project titled A Public Hearing in which they have used the form and function of the public hearing as an aid for investigating a number of contemporary experiences. This has produced a eight channel sound installation, and a range of events examining different aspects of speaking and listening.

For the final event of the project on Saturday 25 June the group have invited local choir groups, singers and musicians for a new lyric to be composed; distilled from conversations with local people and sounds heard in and around the environs of Cromer Street in King's Cross.

This final installation of A Public Hearing, organised by students from the Centre for Research Architecture, looks at oral histories and the means by which knowledge can be altered and passed along. The process for composition will be collaborative – dialogue, consensus and disruption will be made evident in the final choral arrangement. Simultaneous to the performance a live recording with feedback will play in an adjacent room suggesting the configuration of Arts Catalyst as a sensing organ attuned to and bearing witness to unfolding events.

Event schedule

Saturday 25 June, 12 noon – 7pm
12 noon – 6pm Exhibition and performance
5pm – 7pm Closing Drinks reception

This event is FREE no booking required


A Public Hearting is supported by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England. 

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KOSMICA Mexico 2015

KOSMICA is an international festival for earth-bound artists, space engineers, performers, astronomers, musicians and anyone interested in space

KOSMICA Mexico 2015 addressed a central theme of war and peace in space, and ethical issues facing space exploration. The program included more than 15 international guests to reflect upon these issues through workshops, performances, cinema, music and talks.

Kosmica Mexico 2015 is presented thanks to the support of: British Council México, Año Dual UK – Mexico, Fundación Telefónica, INBA / Laboratorio Arte Alameda. Associates: Arts Catalyst, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Agencia Espacial Mexicana, Cine Tonalá, Otoño en Hiroshima, Ovnibus, ITACCUS and Ambulante. Media associates: Vice – The Creators Project, El Fanzine, Pijamasurf.

Programme of events

Thu 17 September, 7pm – 11pm

Chris Welch (GB) – Talk
Enrique Jezik (AR) – Performance
Aleksandra Mir (SE) – Talk
Music by: Alias 616, Radiador (MX)
Fri 18 September, 7pm – 12am
Jon Bonfiglio (GB) – Talk
Agencia Espacial Mexicana (MX) – Round table
Louise K Wilson (GB) – Talk
Music by: Rob Anaya + guest, Dolphin Star Temple, Monairem
Sat 19 September, 7pm – 11pm
Lizzie Wade (EUA) – Talk
Arcángel Constantini (MX) and 220 (MX) – Performance
Miguel Ángel Fernández Delgado (MX) – Talk
Music by: Isaac Soto, Un rêve
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Yoshinori Niwa Artist Talk

Yoshinori Niwa’s artistic interventions into public space are experimental actions and propositions involving impossibility and exchange. Seemingly unproductive physical acts such as ‘Transferring a Puddle from A to B’ carried out between Tokyo and Fukushima Prefecture (2012), and between East and West Berlin (2004), perform the impossibility of social and physical boundaries.

Yoshinori puts himself in unusual situations to undermine the reality of what we see and to expose the emptiness of systems that give the illusion of public-ness. For example when he walked in the opposite direction to the people demonstrating against nuclear power generation after the Great East Japan Earthquake ‘Walk in the Opposite Direction of a Demonstration Parade’ (2011). And ‘Demonstration Proceeds from the Prime Ministers Residence to the Summit of Mount Fuji’ (2012) in which he extended a political act to a site more commonly associated with tourism.

In 2014 his project ‘Selling the right name to a pile of garbage’ (2014) aimed to name a garbage landfill in the suburbs of Manila, Philippines. The work uses documentary images of Yoshinori negotiating with workers and managers whose entrepreneurial principles inspire them to try and turn piles of rubbish into gold. Reflecting on the clashes of rights and the contradiction between the value of money and land ownership, the work addresses the Philippine law preventing garbage incineration.

In recent years Niwa Yoshinori has taken an interest in the history of communism and has developed a new series of works which will be shown at Edel Assanti Gallery, London, in a solo exhibition ‘Historically Historic Historical History of Communism’.

This public talk has been organised by the Department of Art at Goldsmiths, University of London in association with the Arts Catalyst, to take place on the occasion of Yoshinori Niwa's exhibition at Edel Assanti, London. 

This talk is part of the Nuclear Culture Project

Exhibition details
Edel Assanti, London
Fri 9 October - Sat 21 November 2015

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Navigators in the Playground of Possibility

The third in a series of Science on Stage workshops, director Ruth Ben Tovim led this week-long workshop at Jackson's Lane


Do changing perceptions of how the universe is shaped affect our relationship to the world? Does the purported death of the grande narrative, render conventional story-telling forms meaningless to contemporary audiences?
These were questions addressed by this week of workshops involving scientists and theatre artists, organised by Arts Catalyst and Louder than Words Productions.
Chaos theorist Paul Redfern and cosmologist Pedro Ferreira from Imperial College discussed their search for philosophical answers as well as purely empirical solutions, offering through their work a vocabulary of ideas and terminology to stimular the artist's imagination: strange attractors, absent presences, curved space and fault-lines called 'strings' across the universe.
Louder Than Words' Ruth Ben Tovim led the week with the aim of drawing on the structures of scientific theories to make theatre, rather than trying to convey the content of science. Navigators prompted an investigation into non-linear narratives. 
Although the work produced at the end of the week deliberately left content out, by the end of the week participants realised that there was a desire for the narrative of science as well as structure. 
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KOSMICA Mexico 2014

KOSMICA is an international festival for earth-bound artists, space engineers, performers, astronomers, musicians and anyone interested in space


KOSMICA returns for the third time to Mexico from 18 to 21 November 2014 at the Center for Digital Culture, Laboratorio Arte Alameda and Multimedia Center of the National Arts Centre.
Artists, scientists, performers, scholars, space explorers, workshop leaders and musicians from Mexico, UK, France, Canada and USA among others, to explore the cultural and artistic aspects of space exploration, and topics including the history of alcohol in space, sex in zero gravity, and nostalgia for the Earth.
This festival is managed by the artist Nahum Mantra in association with The Arts Catalyst (London) and with support from the National Council for Culture and Arts and the National Institute of Fine Arts.
Planet Earth/Unknown Direction, November 18, Centro de Cultura Digital.
A Brief History of Alcohol in Outer Space, November 19, Centro de Cultura Digital.
Humans Phone Home, November 20, Laboratorio Arte Alameda.
After Barbarella, November 21, Laboratorio Arte Alameda.
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Jon Adams, Konfirm

Konfirm is a sound work prompted by systematic processes which will be presented in audio and visual metaphor.

Jon Adams's artwork explores sense and sensitivity through the 'hidden' and plays with perceptions of normal and the inaccessible. A geologist by training, Adams’ seeking of the concealed in his art often reveals his naturally systematic thinking: his inclination and ability to uncover systems within everyday interactions and landscapes.

In this residency and research project, Jon Adams set out on a personal, artistic and scientific investigation of his own Asperger's Syndrome, through a series of conversations, observations and experiments, working in collaboration with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, where Adams will have a residency.

Rather than a specific pathology, Baron-Cohen sees autism as being on a continuum in the general population. He proposes that certain features of autistic people - ‘obsessions’ and repetitive behaviour - previously regarded as purposeless, are conversely highly purposive, intelligent (hyper-systemising), and a sign of a different way of thinking. He argues that high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome need not just lead to disability, but can also lead to talent.
This collaborative research project has emerged from an initial meeting between Jon Adams and Simon Baron-Cohen at an Arts Catalyst/Shape project Alternative Ways of Thinking at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2011.

Jon presented his sound work as a performance with accompanying talk at the Arts Catalyst's event space in Clerkenwell.

This collaborative research project has emerged from an initial meeting between Jon Adams and Simon Baron-Cohen at an Arts Catalyst/Shape project Alternative Ways of Thinking: Exploring the Autistic Mind at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2011 and supported by Wellcome Trust Arts Award



Jon Adams works in a variety of mediums, is a trained geologist and considers himself to to be an ‘Outsider Artist’. Adams has Asperger Syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder) and experiences synaesthesia, a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic, involuntary responses in a second sense, for example, ‘seeing sounds’. The artist’s work explores sense and sensitivity through the ‘hidden’ and plays with perceptions of normal and the inaccessible.
Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at University of Cambridge and Director of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge. He has degrees in Human Sciences from New College, Oxford, a PhD in Psychology from UCL, and an M.Phil in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry in London.

Read Jon's research blog

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KOSMICA: Full Moon Party

KOSMICA: Full Moon Party celebration as part of the Republic of the Moon exhibition programme.

Each KOSMICA session is unique: bringing together the cosmically curious and culturally quirky space community for a social mix of art–space programmes - a film screening, performance or live concert with a short presentation, talk and debate about alternative and cultural uses of space.

KOSMICA: Full Moon Party celebration as part of the Republic of the Moon exhibition programme. 

The evening will offer visitors a chance to see the exhibition and enjoy talks by:

Lucie Green (space scientist)

Lucie is based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL's Department of Space and Climate Physics. She sits on the board of the European Solar Physics Division (ESPD) of the European Physical Society and is a member of the Royal Society's Education Committee.

Tomas Saraceno (artist)

Trained as an architect, since 2002 Tomas Saraceno has been developing his ideas for cities built in the air. His ongoing project Air-Port-City imagines a network of biospheres (or habitable cells) in the sky, like clouds, constantly moving, changing shape, and merging with one another.


This duo formed by Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser returns to KOSMICA to present the largest Moon smelling session ever done on our planet. Together they seek to demonstrate that the future may indeed be frightening, but also highly entertaining. Previous projects have included creating solutions for space waste elimination by disguising satellites as asteroids; building a solar powered solarium because ‘the sun dies anyway’ and synthesising the smell of the moon. As well as projects and exhibitions the duo also give regular performance lectures and workshops.

Kevin Fong (space medicine expert)

Kevin is the co-director of the Centre for Aviation Space and Extreme Environment Medicine (CASE Medicine), at University College London. Also he has been the presenter of the BBC2 science programme, Horizon and of Extreme A&E at Channel 4. Walking on the Moon (article)

Jill Stuart (space politics specialist)
Dr Jill Stuart is Fellow in Global Politics at the London School of Economics, and reviews editor for the journal Global Policy. She researches law, politics and theory of outer space exploration and exploitation. Her interests extend to the way terrestrial politics and conceptualisations such as sovereignty are projected into outer space, and how outer space potentially plays a role in reconstituting how those politics and conceptualisations are understood in terrestrial politics.,

Orchestra Elastique (music)
London based improvisation band will live score the film A trip to the Moon by Georges Méliès. Orchestra Elastique’s music takes influences from Minimalist Music, Free Jazz, Middle Eastern, South American, Krautrock, and various folkloric and tribal traditions. Ranging from subtle dreams to explosive psychedelia, Orchestra Elastique’s performances elasticate mind, senses and spacetime...



Republic of the Moon is a touring exhibition, commissioned by Arts Catalyst with FACT. The first version of the exhibition was presented at FACT Liverpool in winter 2012. The exhibition and residency has been made possible with Grants for the Arts support from Arts Council England and Science & Technology Facilities Council.

Bargehouse is owned and managed by social enterprise, Coin Street Community Builders:



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    KOSMICA Mexico 2013

    The second 3-day galactic gathering in Mexico - an off-the-planet mix of art, science, debate, music and film, exploring alternative and cultural uses of space.

    KOSMICA Mexico brings together earth-bound artists, astronomers, performers, space explorers and musicians from across the glob - UK, France, Lithuania, Slovenia, Australia and the US.  It is programmed by the artist Nahum and The Arts Catalyst (UK) in partnership with the Laboratorio Arte Alameda, INBA (Mexico).

    For its second edition in Mexico City KOSMICA saw international participants actively working in cultural and artistic aspects of space exploration.  This year’s programme is divided in four sessions:

    Thursday 8 August - Artists in the cosmos

    • Andy Gracie (UK)
    • Marko Peljhan (Slovenia)
    • Ariel Waldman (USA)
    • Daniela de Paulis (Italy)
    • Ale de la Puente (Mexico)

    Friday 9 August -  Space programmes and left-behind communities

    • Rob La Frenais (UK)
    • Jareh Das (UK)
    • Kerry Doyle (USA)
    • Willoh S. Weiland (Australia)
    • Mexican Space Collective (Mexico)

    Saturday 10 August - first session: Peaceful and open space

    • Nicola Triscott (UK)
    • Jill Stuart (USA)
    • Roger Malina (USA)

    Saturday 10 August - second session: Fantasy and magic in space

    Julijonas Urbonas (Lithuania)

    • Nick Campion (UK)
    • Miguel Alcubierre Moya (Mexico)
    • Nahum Mantra (Mexico)
    • Anais Tondeur (France)


    KOSMICA in Mexico has been made possible thanks to the support of the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA), Mexico through Laboratorio Arte Alameda.


    KOSMICA is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.

    For more details see

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    KOSMICA x Astroculture

    Each KOSMICA session is unique: bringing together the cosmically curious and culturally quirky space community for a social mix of art–space programmes - a film screening, performance or live concert with a short presentation, talk and debate about alternative and cultural uses of space.

    KOSMICA x Astroculture - A night of performance and conversations with Kapwani Kiwanga and Dr Nick Campion

    Alexander CT Geppert describes Astroculture as a cultural history of outer space and extra-terrestrial life in the twentieth-century imagination. KOSMICA x Astroculture takes this as a point of departure, focusing on artistic practice centred on the cultural understanding of outer space. This research area brings together space enthusiasts who have wide-ranging interests that include performance, cosmology, Afrofuturism, science fiction literature, mythology and philosophy.

    Afrofuturism is a phrase coined in 1995 by cultural critic Mark Dery in his essay Black to the Future, where he links the African American use of science and technology to an examination of space, time, race and culture. He defines Afrofuturism as: "Speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of 20th century technoculture - and, more generally, African American signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future…".  As a movement, Afrofuturism began in earnest in the mid-1950s with musician Sun-Ra, whose music blended science fiction, mysticism, African culture (with a particular focus on Egypt) and jazz fusion, all of which coalesced in his 1972 film, Space is the Place.

    On Wednesday 15 May, KOSMICA x Astroculture's performance based lecture, short film screening followed by a conversation with artist Kapwani Kiwangs and Dr Nick Campion will further contextualise practice and cultural cosmology theories around Astroculture.

    Kapwani Kiwanga’s films and performance lectures speaks of “transcendent powers, beings and realms,” which she conceive in a scientific way. Her performance will be accompanied by a talk placing her artistic practice within wider debates around Astroculture, Afrofuturism, Magic and Space cultural theory.  Kapwani Kiwanga, a Canadian-born artist based in Paris, works primarily with video, sound and performance. Kiwanga studied Anthropology and Comparative Religions at McGill University, Canada. Her work has won a number of awards, and has been shown widely at film festivals, art institutions, and on international television. She has been an artist in residence at L’école nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts, Le Fresnoy: Studio national des arts contemporains and most recently at MU Foundation in the Netherlands.

    Dr Nick Campion is the director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.  His research interests include the nature of belief, the history and contemporary culture of astrology and astronomy, magic, pagan and New Age beliefs and practices, millenarian and apocalyptic ideas, and the sociology of new religious movements. Before joining Lampeter University in 2007, he was Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions and Senior Lecturer in History at Bath Spa University. He is on the editorial boards of Correlation, the Journal of Research in Astrology and Archaeoastronomy, and the Journal of Astronomy in Culture. He speaks widely on the nature of belief, magic and cosmology and describes a recent space flight as an externalisation of the internal, imaginal journey to the stars undertaken in esoteric traditions.


    6.30 Doors

    7pm Kapwani Kiwanga’s performance commences without introduction

    8pm Screening of Sun Ra Repatriation film (excerpt 15 mins)

    8.15pm A conversation between Kapwani Kiwanga and Nick Campion


    This KOSMICA event is guest curated by Jareh Das.

    The KOSMICA series was conceived by Nahum Mantra and Arts Catalyst, and is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.

    Speakers' websites

    Kapwani Kiwanga
    Dr Nick Campion and Trinity St David





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