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  • Bioart as a Space for Identity ConceptualizationFiguring the Human Body under the Scope of Biotechnologies
  • Marianne Cloutier

This thesis proposes an exploration of the conceptualization of identity through bioart. Like many previous artistic movements, bioart, particularly when focused on the question of the human being, uses the body as a creative material. As it is presented in its entirety or in fragments, it is regarded, questioned, processed, multiplied, hybridized, read and transcoded by those living manipulation tools of biotechnology. From the specific study of eight art projects produced since the early 2000s—Transformers by Justine Cooper, Biopresence by BCL (Georg Tremmel and Shiho Fukuhara), Inner Cloud by Marta de Menezes, Suspect Inversion Center (SIC) by Paul Vanouse, May the Horse Live in Me by Art Orienté Objet, Unique by Polona Tratnik and The Anarchy Cell Line by Cynthia J. Verspaget—this thesis aims to highlight their specific contributions to contemporary problematization of identity. In general, these works allow a dialogue between scientific conceptions and identity factors, beyond biological considerations such as gender, culture and beliefs, memory and personal history, definition and sense of self. Because biotechnologies make uncertain the body’s limits and boundaries between individuals, between species and between the living and non-living, they necessarily question our relationship to alterity. Whether by concrete manipulations, the use of metaphors or imagination, these projects question the way life sciences are transforming the understanding as the perception of the individual and offer plural identity experiences—from cultural hybridity to transpecies hybridity. Ultimately, these bioartistic projects participate fully in the contemporary problematization of the human being as to the bioethical, feminist, political and even economic questions related to it.

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Cynthia Verspaget, The Anarchy Cell Line (Regrowing Henrietta), 2004.

(© Cynthia Verspaget)

[End Page 530]

Marianne Cloutier
<>. PhD thesis, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada, 2015.


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