The Scientific Lab as Studio/The Studio as Scientific Lab: Exploring Practice-Led Microbial Bioart in a Decolonial Context

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Arts Research Africa
This paper discusses the field of bioart, which explores the intersection of art and biotechnology. It raises questions about life, bioethics, and environmental interactions. The author’s praxis involves hands-on experimentation with living and nonliving materials in scientific labs, resulting in artistic outcomes. The concept of “intra-action” is explored, emphasising a reciprocal relationship between the artist and the material. The paper highlights the increasing collaboration between artists and scientists, leading to the establishment of bioart labs and art-science programs. The author’s own bioart praxis involves working with bacteria and yeast to create biofibers resembling human skin, which are then used to produce casts referencing colonial histories. The challenges and experimental nature of working with living materials are also discussed.