The Makery medialab presents the third edition of its Open Source Body festival which will take place from September 27 to October 22 at the Cité Internationale des arts. Editorial.
In Theodore Sturgeon’s science fiction novel, The More Than Human (1953), a group of humans with strange powers, such as telepathy and teleportation, enter into a symbiotic relationship to create a single, self-sustaining living organism. For Theodore Sturgeon, a living being does not result from the simple addition of the properties of the elements which constitute it, but from the whole of the relations between those.
This concept of More-Than-Human is today taken up by the human and social sciences to counter the exceptionalism of the human and to open a way towards the understanding of the interrelations between living beings, non-living beings and human societies.
The exhibition More Than Living testifies to the links between contemporary art, health, biomedical research and attention to the other in a post COVID-19 society. It highlights how artists are inspired by scientific research in the field of health, evolutionary biology, biotechnology and their impact on the human body, as well as its relationship with its environment.
Thus, the artists Emilia Tikka, Oula A Valkeapää and Leena Valkeapää show the co-vulnerability of the relationship between humans and reindeer in the Finnish subarctic and present the transformative effects of this reciprocity on their evolution. Maya Minder considers humans as entities in symbiotic relationship with their bacterial microbiota and their environment. She explores the role that algae could play in the food and ecological transition and in our future evolution. Clara Jo questions Coronavirus research and environmental health in an era of accelerated globalization. Martin Howse proposes ways to extract rare minerals from our bodies as a metaphor for our extractivist societies. Helena Nikonole and Lucy Ojomoko use the scent of jasmine to diagnose the presence of disease, as an invitation to destigmatize the sick.
From surgical robotics, through genetics, to computer science, we observe today a strengthening of technological aids to medical practice, removing more and more the direct contact between the doctor and his patient. In the field of feminist criticism, almost 40 years ago, the philosopher and primatologist Donna Haraway introduced the concept of « cyborg body ». Her thinking continues to accompany artists in their research on the technologization of reproduction (Shu Lea Cheang), prostheses and body augmentation (Adriana Knouf), robotization and telesurgery (Albert García-Alzórriz), as well as the relationship between science fiction bodies and the militaristic imaginary (Estelle Benazet Heugenhauser & Cindy Coutant).
The artists in the exhibition More Than Living identify how certain social groups or individuals can be stigmatized or disenfranchised in a normative and validating society. Edna Bonhomme, Nazila Kivi, Jette Hye Jin Mortensen and Luiza Prado thus give a new radicality to the notion of care, while evoking the proximity of the Western techno-medical system to powerful interests.
Ewen Chardronnet & Nataša Petresin-Bachelez
Vernissage on Septembre 27, 7pm, at the Grande Galerie of the Cité Internationale des arts with a performance by Maya Minder and Claudia Stöckli.
Find the programme of the festival here.
The OPEN SOURCE BODY festival is a co-production of Art2M/Makery/MCD and the Cité internationale des arts, organized as part of the ART4MED program – art meets health and biomedical research – co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.