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World’s first memorial for artificial cells at KENPOKU ART
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World’s first memorial for artificial cells at KENPOKU ART

Thu, Oct 6, 2016
World’s first memorial for artificial cells at KENPOKU ART
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Interdisciplinary art project questioning the lives of microorganisms and artificial cells

A team led by Professor Hideo Iwasaki from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, whose specializations are bioscience and bioaesthetics, presented their interdisciplinary art titled, “Memorial service for the spirits of microorganisms and artificial cells/lives” at KENPOKU ART 2016, an art festival currently taking place in Ibaraki Prefecture until November 20.

Professor Iwasaki attempted to combine his lifelong research on the socio-cultural reception of artificial cells and his pursuit of biological/biomedia art in the project. At the forefront of bioscience technology, there are attempts to synthesize artificial cells/life. Overlapping the natural sciences and the humanities, this project linked advanced life sciences, Ibaraki’s prevalent local fermented food culture, and traditional practices of life and death in the area. Members of the project include metaPhorest, Professor Iwasaki’s bio-art platform, a video production team including Tama Art University students, cell synthesis researchers, fermenters, brewers, and local residents.

The displays at the art festival include a video installation and a virtual memorial space, as well as monuments made of rare serpentinite stones for commemorating the lives of artificial cells/life and fermented microorganisms. As the first attempt of its kind in the world, the project is drawing global attention.

Inspired by a common Japanese custom to hold memorial services for the spirits of laboratory animals, the project takes cutting-edge artificial cell research and contemplates the nature of life: the very existence of artificial cells/life, lives of microorganisms which do not cross daily lives of humans, man’s ideas on life, and the relationship between scientifically created life and our intuitive perspectives on life. There is academic significance in comparatively and contrastingly studying what life is, from a multidisciplinary perspective. Professor Iwasaki and his team encourage future discussions on this topic from the aspects of history of scientific ideas, aesthetics, and folklore.

For more information, contact Professor Iwasaki’s bio-art platform, metaPhorest.

metaPhorest contact information

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