1/4 scale ear
A different strategy has been pursued in attempting to realize the EXTRA EAR project. In collaboration with Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr of Tissue Culture & Art a 1/4 scale replica of my ear has been grown using human cells. A cast of my ear was made from which a scaled down biodegradable polymer scaffold was produced. The scaffold was seeded with living cells and the ear was cultured in a rotating micro-gravity bioreactor which allowed the cells to grow in a 3D structure. The incubator was kept at 37 C. The ear was fed with nutrients every 3-4 days in a sterile hood. 1/4 scale ears have been grown with human donor cells, the cells of the HeLa cell line and mouse cells.
The 1/4 SCALE EAR is about 2 collaborative concerns. The project represents a recognizable human part and was meant to be ultimately incorporated on to the body as a soft prosthesis. However it is being presented as partial life and brings into question the notions of the wholeness of the body. It also confronts society's cultural perceptions of life with the increasing ability to manipulate living systems. Tissue Culture & Art are dealing with the ethical and perceptual issues stemming from the realization that living tissue can be sustained, grown and is able to function outside of the body. The prosthesis is now a partial life form - partly constructed and partly alive. But being only 1/4 scale it was not visually adequate to be used directly as a body augmentation.
There have been three 1/4 Scale Ear installations with TC & AP:
- Galerija Kapelica, 13-20 May 2003, Ljubljana, Slovenia
- The Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, 19 September-23 November 2003, Ian Potter, NGV, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia
- The National Review of Live Arts (NRLA), 24 October 2003, Powerhouse, Midlands, WA, Australia
- The 1/4 Scale Ear was grown with the assistance of VERIGEN Australia and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Western Australia
The project was realized in collaboration with SymbioticA, at the University of Western Australia, in Perth and with Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr of the the Tissue Culture and Art Project