Technological innovation allows us to not only redesign ourselves, but also the world around us. Or is technology redesigning us? The exhibition THRIVE: A Biodesign Challenge Retrospective at the Esther Klein Gallery in Philadelphia highlights pieces by eminent bioart and biodesign practitioners that explore a mutually beneficial relationship between nature and technology. One of collaborations, where both grow, develop and thrive. Or perhaps even, where the natural and artificial trade places.

A Search for Ghosts in the Meat Machine - Ani Lui

Bio artist Ani Liu wonders, can our bodies be upgraded with nonorganic integrations? Can sentience itself be manufactured in a lab? While bio art pioneer Suzanne Anker calls attention to the necessity for enlightened thinking about nature’s ‘tangled bank’. The work of Orkan Telhan explores the signatures of living organisms, algorithms, tools, and visualisations—that are designed in light of new theories and technologies from artificial intelligence to synthetic biology.

While Elaine Young investigates the societal implications of such developments, especially considering the body as a material and as data. Young creates work that explores both bioethics and medical anthropology and how science challenges our notions of the significance of life on Earth. The expo offers audiences a look at the latest works at the convergence of art, design, and biology, which examine current and future uses of biotechnology.

Pieces in this show will be highlighted in BDC's forthcoming book, Grow the Future: Visions of Biodesign, which features essays by leaders in biodesign and a foreword by Paola Antonelli, set to publish in Summer 2022. This exhibition is presented by Biodesign Challenge, the University City Science Center and Esther Klein Gallery in Philadelphia. The show will open on April 14th.

Image credit: details from Elaine Young’s CACTUS | FLEA from the HOST - for your living things series, 2008.

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