Alicia King is a Hobart based interdisciplinary artist.
In recent years King has been delving into the realms of biological technology at the UTAS School of Medicine and SymbioticA. Her practice explores biological permutations in humans, animals and the wider environment, and alludes to that which generally lies outside of the everyday category of the ‘living’.
In 2009 she was awarded a PhD for Transformations of the flesh; rupturing embodiment through biotechnology, an artistic exploration of relationships between biotech practices and the physical, ethical and ritual body.
King has exhibited throughout Australia and beyond, and is recipient of numerous grants, awards and residencies throughout Australia, Europe and Asia, with the generous support of The Australia Council for the Arts (OZCO), Arts Tasmania, and The Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT).
She is the 2010 recipient of the Rosamond McCulloch Studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, and will also undertake Residency in the Galapagos Archipelago, South America.
“My time at SymbioticA focused upon three projects.
The first was the production of a portable glass bioreactor, to be used as part of the ephemeral flesh projects, involving the culturing of my own primary skin tissue into sculptural form. The bioreactor was exhibited in 2009 as The Vision Splendid in solo exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, through the MONA scholarship.
The second project involved obtaining and culturing explant tissue from an anonymous cosmetic surgery patient in Perth. This research is related to my then current PhD, Transformations of the flesh; rupturing embodiment through biotechnology. The completed explant tissue project was exhibited as part of my PhD submission at the University of Tasmania’s Plimsol Gallery, Hobart in 2009.
Thirdly, I continued research into the phenomenon of the HIV virus. Proposed governmental stances towards HIV immigration in Australia conjure a view of the HIV positive body as a tool of biological weaponry, which needs to be geographically confined. This kind of stance imparts particular prejudices in relation to the assumed behavior of HIV positive individuals. The analogy of the HIV positive person as potential biological terrorist is one of great interest and concern.
The general premise for these ongoing research projects relates to governing and manipulation of the living body, as significantly altering the state of the body, both physically and conceptually. Bodily form in its location between subject and object, living and non-living, waste and commodity is explored throughout, in relation to its significance upon the perception and role of the body, and its relationship to the wider physical and political environment.”
Australia Council for the Arts (OZCO), Museum for old and new art (MONA)
SymbioticA Research Group (SARG), Matt Johnson (bioreactor design).
July - Oct 2008
“During one month at SymbioticA I focused upon learning primary mammal tissue culture techniques.
The research was part of, and in preparation for, two upcoming projects. The first was the culturing of my own primary human tissue, taken via shave biopsy by a cosmetic surgeon, to be undertaken in Hobart. The second was a project involving the culturing of explant surgical tissue, from an anonymous cosmetic surgical patient (carried out in Residency in 2008).
This researched formed part of my then current PhD Transformations of the flesh; rupturing embodiment through biotechnology, which involved exploration into biomedical manipulation on the physical, psychological, ritual, and ethical body.
Both projects were exhibited as part of my PhD submission at the University of Tasmania’s Plimsol Gallery, Hobart in 2009.”
The University of Tasmania, Postgraduate Research Fund.
Sept – Oct 2007