Living Matter: The Preservation of Biological Materials in Contemporary Art, Getty

WhiteFeather’s collaborative work in developing a longevity treatment for cellulosic biomaterials with art conservator, Courtney Books, was recently published in an essay by Books as part of the conference proceedings book, Living Matter: The Preservation of Biological Materials in Contemporary Art (Kendra Roth, Rachel Rivenc, eds.). The essay also features WhiteFeather’s collaborative work with biodesigner, Théo Chauvirey and her collaborative work with professor Tagny Duff. Digital copies of the essay, Plump and Pliant: The Preservation of Bacterial Cellulose in Textile Bioart can be downloaded here. All other essays as part of the book can be accessed here.

“Eggshells, flowers, onion peels, sponge cake, dried bread, breast milk—these are just a few of the biological materials that some contemporary artists have used to make art. But how can works made from such perishable ingredients be preserved? And what ethical and conceptual dilemmas might be posed by doing so? Because they are prone to rapid decay, even complete disappearance, biological materials pose a range of unique conservation challenges. This groundbreaking book probes the moral and practical challenges associated with displaying, collecting, and preserving these unique works of art. Theoretical considerations are complemented by a range of specific case studies, thereby affording a comprehensive and richly detailed overview of current thinking and practices on this topic.

With contributions by conservators, scholars, curators, and artists, Living Matter is the first publication to address broadly these provocative issues, exploring the role of biological materials in the creative process and presenting a wide variety of possible approaches to their preservation.”

Read more about Courtney’s conservation and art work on her website here.