Text by CLOT Magazine
On July 18, Unbore is presenting the first of its series of events called flashows in Venice, commencing with Adam Zaretsky’s exhibit Experiments in DIY New Reproductive Technologies. Flashows are pop-up exhibitions, frequently partnering with local cultural organisations, that display an artist’s work momentarily, unusually, and entertainingly. They appear in different places around the city and quickly vanish, blending in but staying foreign to the fabric.
Unbore is a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands that aims to foster new ideas and thinking, encourage experimentation, and promote projects which unite disciplines like art, technology, and biology. Unbore will host various exhibitions, conventions, and events establishing a global platform for exchanging ideas between artists, scientists, institutions and the public. At its core, Unbore hopes to inspire collective devotion to present-day issues by facilitating multidisciplinary collaboration and building a cultural bio-art/design scheme.
Dr Adam Zaretsky is a wet lab bio-artist whose range of artistic practice includes the fields of bio-engineering, environmental science, non-human relations, performance art, and culinary art. After leaving his research position at MIT Biology Department, Zaretsky opened a public life arts school: VASTAL, that organizes entertaining, interactive biotechnology performance labs available for the public.
Zaretsky has been challenging the notion that engaging in bio-engineering is only acceptable if it’s for the benefit of mankind but not for the sake of art. This claim reveals the hidden politics that controls bio-technologies today. Zaretsky questions who it is that determines what is and isn’t helpful and appropriate to research and what kind of studies scientists are allowed to perform. Although it’s generally accepted that progress in science and medicine improves peoples’ lives, Zaretsky speculates whether we are headed towards a genetically engineered homogenous society with little diversity in its genome.
His current project for the flashow concerns The Human Microbiome Project, which researches the microbial flora living inside humans. Their count vastly outnumbers human cells, which begs the question: how big a role do they play in making us – us? Zaretsky’s work involves manipulating this bacterial DNA and pondering what could result from re-introducing them into human microbiota and how it could change our identity.