The Victimless Utopia

Short text by The Tissue Culture & Art Project about their aims. Written for the Fleshing Out event (2006).

Our artistic collective, called The Tissue Culture & Art Project (TC&A) questions conventional notions of human relations with other living systems, and the human position within the continuum of life, by using living tissues from complex organisms as a medium to create semi-living sculptures and/or objects of partial life.

As part of Fleshing Out conference I will discuss the project titled Victimless Leather - A Prototype of Stitch-less Jacket Grown in a Technoscientific "Body" (2003-2004) were we presented a miniature leather-like jacket grown out of immortalized cell lines (a mix of human and mouse cells) that cultured and formed a living layer of tissue supported by a biodegradable polymer matrix in a form of a miniature stitch-less coat.

Victimless Leather is part of TC&A long held engagement with the hypocrisies we have to employ to maintain our relations/dependence with/on the living and constructed environment. Technology seems to promise us (among many other things) an illusion of a victimless utopia. TC&A argue that this technologically meditated victimless utopia is but a transformation of explicit violence into a hidden implicit one on a much greater scale. As urban Western culture seems to find it hard to stomach images of real violence (as oppose to cinematic and constructed simulated violence) its obsession with ever growing consumption inevitably created increasing amounts of victims from the ecology to other animals and humans. There is a shift from "the red" in the teeth and claws of nature to a mediated nature. The victims are pushed farther away; they still exist, but are much more implicit.

In our paper we will relate issues concerning ‘living garments’ to fragmenting, mixing and reconstituting life and the way it serves the ideal and rhetoric of western society advancing towards a false perception of technologically mediated victimless utopia.

Ionat Zurr, 2006

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