The Tissue Culture & Art Project – Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr NoArk vessel design in collaboration with Marcus Canning


NoArk is a research project exploring the taxono m ical crisis induced by life forms created through biotechnology.

NoArk takes the form of an experimental vessel designed to maintain and grow a mass of living cells and tissues that originated from different organisms. This vessel serves as a surrogate body for a collection of living fragments; it can be seen as a tangible and symbolic ‘craft’ for observing and understanding a biology that combines the fa m iliar with the other. As opposed to classical methodologies of collection, categorization and display that are seen in Natural History museums, contemporary biological research is focused upon manipulation and hybridisation, and rarely takes a public form . NoArk uses cellular stock taken fro m tissue banks, laboratories, m useu m s and other collections. It contains a chi m erical ‘blob’ m ade out of m odified living fragments of different organis m s, which are living together in a techno-scientific body. Like the cabinets of curiosity that preceded the Natural History m useu m ’s refined taxono my NoArk’s unified collection of unclassifiable sub-organisms acts as a sy m bolic precursor to a new way of approaching a made nature.

The Tissue Culture and Art Project (TC&A) has explored the use of tissue technologies as a m ediu m for artistic expression since 1996, and in 2000 beca m e one of the core research projects at Sy m bioticA, The Art and Science Research Laboratory, School of Anatomy and Human Biology, University of Western Australia (winner of the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica for Hybrid Art 2007). ARTRAGE Director Marcus Canning last collaborated with TC&A in 2003 as part of the BioFeel exhibition at PICA during the inaugural BEAP.