Ionat Zurr, Oron Catts, Tarsh Bates, Elise Cachat, Jane Calvert, Alistair Elfick, Susan Rosser & Erika Szymanski. [Australia, UK, and US].
Crossing Kingdoms, 2018.
Video and sound files.
Crossing Kingdoms is an artist-led experiment in transgressing the boundaries of cells, classification systems, and fields of expertise. In collaboration with synthetic biologists and social scientists, these artists attempted to fuse yeast cells with human embryonic kidney cells using a protein derived from a snake virus. In pursuing the creation of a biological entity that would not exist without human intervention, Crossing Kingdoms provokes scientific, aesthetic, and cultural discussions, asking, What is this living thing, and what consequences follow its existence? Different members of the project’s multidisciplinary team allowed their different perspectives and disciplinary backgrounds to mingle without attempting to produce a final conclusion. Viewers can explore these perspectives by navigating a mixture of images of the Crossing Kingdoms paired at random with the voices of the collaborators discussing the project and its implications.
Ionat Zurr, Oron Catts, and Tarsh Bates led Crossing Kingdoms, an interdisciplinary collaboration between artists (SymbioticA, University of Western Australia), scientists, and social scientists (SynthSys, University of Edinburgh) to create yeast-mammalian cell fusions while exploring such questions through art. The internationally recognized and decorated artists are based at SymbioticA, The Centre for Excellence in Biological Arts, an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning, critique, and hands-on engagement with the life sciences. The laboratory has received the Golden Nica for Hybrid Art from Prix Ars Electronica. Catts and Zurr produce works as Tissue Culture & Art, which reach beyond the confines of art; his work is often cited as inspiration to diverse areas, such as new materials, textiles, design, architecture, ethics, fiction, and food. Bates completed a PhD at SymbioticA in 2019.
Check out the scientific poster about the process of creating Crossing Kingdoms: The art of fusion: a synthetic approach to create cross-kingdom hybrids .
Read more about the Crossing Kingdoms and the collaborative process:
Szymanski, E., Bates, T., Cachat, E., Calvert, J., Catts, O., & Nelson, L. et al. (2020). Crossing Kingdoms: How Can Art Open Up New Ways of Thinking About Science?. Frontiers In Bioengineering And Biotechnology, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2020.00715