WhiteFeather co-teaches Tissue Culture workshop led by Marta de Menezes

WhiteFeather demonstrates cell passaging to workshop participants (including visiting scholar, Michael Century, right).

Workshop: “Immortality”
Led by visiting international guest artist Marta de Menezes
Sponsored by Milieux and Fluxmedia

Time:  9:30am-5pm
Date: Wednesday  February 17, 2016
Location: Institute Resource room  EV 11.715
Afternoon: EV. 10.835

The generation and use of immortal cell lines have become common practice in scientific laboratories, although the definition of “immortality” used in such sites of research may differ from the one commonly used by philosophers or artists.  We will reconsider immortality as a performative site spanning various scales of life from a humanities and art perspective, while engaging “hands-on” with tissue culture engineering protocols.

Some questions we will consider: how does the practice of growing and imaging HeLa cells challenge notions of space-time, longevity and identities?  How might the
materiality of cell culture be reconsidered through the lens of research-creation practices situated in the fine arts and humanities? How might researchers from the humanities engaging in biotechnology “trouble” assumptions around the performance of life and longevity?

The introductory workshop aims to embrace a research-creation focused approach and methodology to tissue culture engineering practice in the wet laboratory.  No previous experience is required. During the workshop a mangling of methodologies across art and the life sciences will be discussed and experimented with in lieu of a strategy of “staying with the trouble” (Haraway, 2014) .

The course will consist of a 1-day workshop featuring a wet lab session and introduction to timelapse microphotography and animation of cells.  Presentations and group discussions focusing on the artistic, philosophical, aesthetic and ethical issues raised by workshop activities will be encouraged. Handling biological materials and techniques, as well as discussing concepts emerging from the material practice, will provide the means for reflection on issues around immortality, identity and memory.


Marta de Menezes (right) watches over workshop participants trying tissue culture.
Under the hood. Tissue culture workshop participants Emre Sünter (left) and Gunes Isitan (right) cooperate to passage cells.
Dr Tagny Duff demonstrates time-lapse micro-photography to workshop participants.