Harlequin Coat

Harlequin Coat presents the realization of a composite, organic coat, made from an assemblage of pieces of skin of different colours, ages and origins. This prototype of a biotechnological coat, consisting of in vitro skins in coloured diamond shaped petri dishes, will be made to sy m bolise cultural crossbreeding. This project continues ORLAN’s investigation into hybridisation using digital photography. Her recent series, entitled Self-Hybridation: Précolo m bienne , Self-Hybridation: Africaine and Self-Hybridation: Indiens d’A m érique endeavoured to crossbreed beauty canons of other cultures and other m edia (sculpture, photography, painting) with the artists’ own image. The Harlequin Coat project develops and continues the idea of crossbreeding and hybridization, using the m ore carnal m ediu m of skin cells. This work on the figure of the Harlequin is inspired by the text “Laicité” written by French Philosopher Michel Serres, in which he uses the Harlequin as a m etaphor for multiculturalism . Harlequin Coat seeks to raise various questions: “Can skins of different colours be cultivated? What kind of infor m ation can be obtained fro m the donors? Can a person still be the owner of his or her cells? Does self-ownership continue to exist at the fragmented level? How are such issues perceived in various countries, and especially in the context of a non-western viewpoint?”

ORLAN is an internationally renowned French artist who has been active in photography, video, sculpture, installations and performance since 1965. She wrote the Carnal Art Manifesto, and from 1990 to 1993 conducted a series of nine surgery- performances in which she refigured her face and created new i m ages referring to non-Western cultures. ORLAN is currently an artist in residence at SymbioticA.