Visceral: The Living Art Experiment

Further information


28 January to 25 February 2011


Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland



Download the VISCERAL catalogue

Visceral Catalogue [PDF, 4.0 MB]
Updated 25 Jan 2011

This exhibition will explore and provoke questions about scientific truths, what constitutes living and the ethical and artistic implications of life manipulation.

Exhibition overview

SymbioticA and Science Gallery, Dublin conducted an experiment in January 2011 which saw science and art collide in Visceral: The Living Art Experiment.

VISCERAL confronted audiences with the delicate processes of modern biology to explore our changing understandings and perceptions of life in the light of rapid developments in the life sciences and their applied technologies. A range of award-winning work from 17 different artists challenged visitors to consider the tension between art and science and the cultural, economic and ethical implications of biosciences today.

The exhibition explores and provokes questions about scientific truths, what constitutes living and the ethical and artistic implications of life manipulation. The exhibition also marks ten years of intensive and challenging work carried out at SymbioticA.

Curated by SymbioticA’s Director Oron Catts and SymbioticA’s leading researcher Dr Ionat Zurr, Viseral brings together more than a decade of work developed through SymbioticA’s art-science residency program at The University of Western Australia.

Works in the exhibition include ‘Midas’ by Paul Thomas, which examines the space where skin and gold meet; ‘Silent Barrage’ by Neurotica, an architectural scale arrangement of pole robots that stimulate neuronal activity of cells and provoke epilepsy in a culture dish in response to audience movements; ‘The Vision Splendid’ by Alicia King, an installation of cultured tissue within an artist-designed bioreactor and The Tissue Culture and Art Project’s ‘Semi-Living Worry Dolls’ offer absolution through whispering your troubles to bioengineered worry dolls. The exhibition also included the unique ‘Lab Out of Context’, where artists and scientists create new work and research in view of Science Gallery audiences.


VISCERAL was accompanied by a rich program of events and talks involving artists and scientists connected with the exhibition. Events included a one-night-only sleep architecture performance by Lisa Goldberg, a sleep technician and a volunteer sleeper on the night of the 28 January and the following day the VISCERAL SYMPOSIUM which reviewed the cultural strategies that engage and scrutinise the life sciences, with a particular emphasis on hands-on artistic research embedded within a biological laboratory. Alternatively known as ‘one month of Fridays’, in acknowledgement of the regular Friday seminars SymbioticA has run over the past seven years, the VISCERAL SYMPOSIUM is a celebration of the variety of researchers and the repercussions of the research undertaken at SymbioticA over the years.

Art and biology, from a philosophical, art historical, geographical, political and scientific perspectives will be discussed by two of SymbioticA’s co-founders (Prof. Miranda Grounds and Oron Catts) and some of the researchers who have been SymbioticA residents over the last decade (Kira O’Reilly, Adam Zaretsky, Meredith Walsh, Adele Senior, Deborah Dixon, Marta De Menezes, Tagny Duff, Jennifer Willet and Ionat Zurr).

SymbioticA also conducted a workshop on lab techniques used by artists, and a series of artists’ talks during the intensive first weekend starting on the 29th January 2011.


Visceral includes 15 artworks from ten years of SymbioticA's residency program, featuring the following artists: