Exhibit: Plant Cyborgs and Biohackers

a series of rope lights leading to a center white disc

Looking for an escape from pandemic-induced monotony? Explore the digital art-science exhibition, “Art’s Work in the Age of Biotechnology,” featuring a “first-person eater game” and an attempt to fuse yeast cells with human cells, among other curious works of art.

Life at all scales combines with interactive displays in an online environment where artists fuse their creativity and scientific expertise to tackle some of the more salient questions raised by the growth of biotechnology.

Walk through a virtual fancy dinner where each elaborate course reveals the increasingly complex ways in which biotech intertwines with our food supply. With the tagline “we have always been biohackers,” the artist explores the long history of human’s manipulation of other organisms for our sustenance.

Another piece, “Cellumonials,” takes the connection between humans and our biology further through a performance reflecting on humanity’s relationships with our cells. Their meditation ponders the notion that “your gut is a galaxy where microbes are more abundant than stars,” including many microbes of viral origin.

The exhibit was curated by Hannah Star Rogers, a visiting scholar at Pitt’s Center for Bioethics and Law. Elizabeth Pitts, assistant professor of English in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, served as exhibition director. The project was funding through a Pitt Seed Grant and the Research, Ethics and Society Initiative of the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research.

See the contributing artists’ bios and view the entire exhibit.

This content was written by Justin P. Jones, a student reporter for Pittwire.