Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal
Against a backdrop of progress in biosciences and technology, Van Balen and Cohen create critical design objects and installations that meet with and speculate on changing customs, standards and values which could possibly influence our (social) lives in a biological revolutionary era.
Within the Alter Nature project Van Balen and Cohen’s research project and their (general) practice can be thought of as an extensive case study of the design of nature; human or other. Tuur and Revital present a different world, an Alter World. By blowing up and interpreting specific social situations, habits, customs and the manner in which science and technology (can) respond, their work is testimony of a thorough and studied reflection on current society.
Nature: The Unnatural Animal is part of Alter Nature, an overarching
project by Z33, the Hasselt Fashion Museum and CIAP in collaboration
with the MAD-faculty, the University of Hasselt, the Flemish Institute
for Biotechnology (VIB), KULeuven University and bioSCENTer.
Met behulp van nanotechnologie wordt bacterievrije kledij gefabriceerd. Intelligente poncho's kunnen je DNA lezen, of dat is tenminste het toekomstideaal. Radiomuziek wordt via een kap uit de lucht geplukt en een stof van cassettebandjes doet een jurk zingen.
Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal is supported by Provincie Limburg, Vlaamse Overheid, Stad Hasselt, Mondriaan Stichting, Groep C, Levis, Canon Cultuurcel
photo: Ney articulator with bridge, ca. 1950. Dentistry. Prosthetics. Prosthodontics.
From electric organs to soap-shitting pigeons.
Z33 presents: the wondrous design world of Tuur Van Balen and Revital Cohen
From 28 January 2011 to 1 May 2011, critical designers Tuur Van Balen and Revital Cohen will reveal a selection of their works in the exhibition project Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal, on show at Z33 – house for contemporary art.
With knowledge, insight and interpretation of the possibilities that abound thanks to progress in bioscience and biotechnology, Tuur Van Balen and Revital Cohen make critical design objects, organisms and installations that reflect on our changing customs, norms and values. Cohen, for instance, will show an alternative to kidney dialysis using live sheep; she has also designed a new human organ that produces electricity, and attempts to return ‘happiness’ to a genetically manipulated depressed rat. The focus is on the questions that arise from the blurring lines between product and animal, and the role that we as people play in this. Van Balen will present, among other things, pigeons that excrete soap instead of dung. This highlights the fact that what we now see as vermin can come to play a completely different role. In another, new work, Van Balen takes his own metabolism to task, cooking with his own blood with the help of leeches.
In addition to a combination of their earlier projects, Z33 is also giving the two designers the chance to kick off some of their latest, still-in-progress works. Presented in floating houses, visitors are invited to literally step inside Van Balen and Cohen’s extraordinary design world, a world with its own logic which may seem strange at first, but is at the same time somehow commonplace and recognisable.
Karen Verschooren (Z33), curator of Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal sees Van Balen and Cohen’s work as an ideal complement to the other Alter Nature exhibitions. “Within Alter Nature, this research project can be understood as an extended case study. Tuur and Revital present a different world, an ‘Alter World’. They magnify specific social situations, customs and practices, and interpret them as well. Moreover, they show how science and technology can and do take advantage of these. Their work demonstrates a profound and deeply considered reflection of today’s society.”
“This research project also shows what Z33 stands for”, says Jan Boelen, Z33’s artistic director. “In addition to our big ‘museum-style’ exhibitions, we also want to pay attention to smaller, investigative projects. We aim to support experiment and innovation. And the link with everyday life is present in all of them. Tuur Van Balen and Revital Cohen are asking questions that we might not yet be asking, but in the future certainly will be …”
OPENING 28.01.2011 at 6 pm at Z33
6pm — Z33 opening
. Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal: intro and welcome by Gilbert Van Baelen (Deputy of culture of the Province of Limburg) + a few words by Jan Boelen / Karen Verschooren
. opening Alter Nature: My biological (r)evolution (showcase of work by students of the MAD-faculty)
6.30pm till 10pm — Z33 exhibition visits
. Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal
. Alter Nature: We Can
. Alter Nature: My biological (r)evolution
8pm — Fashion Museum opening Alter Nature: The Future That Never Was
by INVITATION ONLY (Fashion Museum invitation required)