Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen translate our times of rapid progress in the biosciences, and of automated and standardized production technologies, into life-manipulating performative installations, provocative objects, and subtly aestheticised documentary films. While the biological sciences shift their focus from analysis to synthesis, adopting a language of engineering that focuses less on living beings than on components, circuits and systems, the artists examine our changing values.
Their new work Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gōdraws attention to the ambiguous identity of animals designed as products. It centers on albino goldfish specifically designed to be born without reproductive organs, presented alongside a machine - put in stand-by mode - that is capable of reproducing such sterile fish to demand from pre-extracted sperm and eggs.
Other works by the artists showing in this exhibition are the short film Kingyo Kingdom which explores the unique culture of breeders, collectors and connoisseurs at the Japanese national goldfish competition, giving a cultural context to the design and commodification of this species, further explored in Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō. In Pigeon d’Or and 75 Watt, human and animal organisms are being used in highly controlled (dys)functional processes.
The exhibition is curated by Jens Hauser with Nicola Triscott (Arts Catalyst).
Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō is commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Schering Foundation.
Kingyo Kingdom is commissioned by Arts Catalyst.
Sterile / Sensei Ichi-gō also supported by the Daiwa Foundation, and forms part of the European Commission FP7 funded project KiiCS