Biomateria + Contagious Matters at FOFA Gallery

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Exhibition: November 2, 2015 – December 11, 2015

Vernissage: November 5, 2015, 7 – 9 PM

FOFA Gallery, 1515 Ste-Catherine St W.

Biomateria + Contagious Matters is a vital materialist mixed media and digital installation of works on the themes of contagion theory and microethnography, haptic epistemologies/ communications and microecologies.
 Tristan Matheson’s work specifically navigates 3D cellular environments as a lived experience for viewers, that reflect communicative concepts found in social theory. These concepts are applied to pathogenic worlds recreated in large format, using cancer cells as actants through the use of time-lapse technology. WhiteFeather Hunter’s work specifically comments on the relationship between nonhuman agents (cell forms) and human technological and creative industry through the production of craft-based textile forms enculturated with mammalian tissue cells. The premise of the exhibition is to explore areas of overlap between technologies that manipulate bodies, life and material existence, as well as digital (new material) interpretations of those relationships.

For Biomateria, WhiteFeather engineered unique biotextile forms, beginning with miniature horsehair and human hair cloths, handwoven on 3D-printed looms in sterile biosafety lab environments. The textiles were immersed in cell culture media in petri dishes and seeded with human bone cancer and mammalian connective tissue cells, which used the weavings as scaffolds for growth. These forms present new ways of growing mammalian tissue in vitro. Hacking the laboratory apparatus and negotiating institutional bureaucracy is also an essential part of the work. This project has been supported by residencies at SymbioticA Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts (University of Western Australia), Fluxmedia (Concordia University) and the Pelling Lab for Biophysical Manipulation (uOttawa).

Part of WhiteFeather’s work in the exhibition also includes image-based Jacquard woven cloths of the microscopic ecologies. These works collectively speak to the role of haptic intelligence: both human material fluency through hands-on making, and the congruent haptic epistemologies of nonhuman agents (cells) as they reach towards each other, make membranous contact and connect to intersecting fibres in order to build living structures.

More on the FOFA Gallery website here.

Biomateria + Contagious Matters was presented as part of the Media Art History Conference 2015: Re-Create: Theories, Methods and Practices of Research-Creation in the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology.


Des machines et des hommes: Le congrès Re-Create s’intéresse aux liens entre art et technologie, Le Devoir (Montreal)

Colloque Re-Create: à l’école de la création, La Presse (Montreal)

Art This Week, CultMTL (Montreal)

Live painting, immigration mementos and bio art: FOFA Gallery reveals its eclectic, international fall line-up, Concordia University