Offering the Body: Performing proximity in the use of cellular material

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cellular and sub-cellular material become creative medium across a range of disciplines that engage with biotechnology, from medicine to art practice. Historically, these practices complicated the boundaries of the body through patriarchal and colonial narratives of abstraction and extraction. In contrast to the ethical requirements of anonymity in medical research, this article suggests that material culture has a duty to know the body it works with. Three brief histories of bodily donation are recounted and aspects of these are contrasted with contemporary approaches to the use of bodily material within art practice. The developing project, Offering the Body, is offered as an example of performative practice that reintroduces a proximity to the body in biotechnological practices and begins to question whether through art practice, the biological body can move from commodity to be considered as a more-than-human resource.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalTechnoetic Arts
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • abstraction
  • bioart
  • bioeconomy
  • cellular material
  • commodification
  • donation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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