Microbes and Mushrooms Take a Star Turn in Bio Art Show at MIT, Jenny Wu, δημοσίευση στο Art in America [23/2/2023]
The term “bio art” is often linked to works from the late 1990s and early 2000s that involved the manipulation of genetic code. One might recall Eduardo Kac’s fluorescent bunny or the ear implanted in Stelarc’s arm. The curators of “Symbionts: Contemporary Artists and the Biosphere,” however, have gathered 14 contemporary bio artists who look beyond code as they attempt to forge humble, reciprocal relationships with other-than-human agents.
The works spread out over the MIT List Visual Arts Center’s three galleries often model forms of symbiosis: mutualism (both species benefit), commensalism (one species benefits and the other is unaffected), and parasitism (one species benefits and the other is harmed). Gilberto Esparza’s Plantas autofotosintéticas (2013–14)—a campy amalgamation of microbial fuel cell towers that contain mixtures of pondwater and sewage, and a suspended aquarium—enacts a mutualistic exchange between human and nonhuman entities. When bacteria called Geobacter, endemic in the pondwater, siphon electrons from waste particles, the sewage is slowly purified. The process also generates sparks of light, with which the tentacular plant in the aquarium performs photosynthesis. Candice Lin’s Memory (Study #2), 2016, a white mass of lion’s mane mushrooms ballooning out of a red ceramic vessel, demonstrates a similar repurposing of human waste to foster plant growth, sans vitrine: Over the course of the exhibition, staff members collect their own urine and use distilled samples of it to mist the fungus, which has been shown to improve memory when consumed. This bodily fluid, albeit purified, is a nod to the artist’s previous installations that utilize “communal piss” as a metaphor for collectivity and its potential discomforts.
Η συνέχεια εδώ.