art :: don't kill the coat

The day that artist's Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr created a tiny living coat from the embryonic stem cells of a mouse, was the day that science and art were about to go haywire at MOMA. The mini jacket, a tiny art piece titled "Victimless Leather" was designed to grow into a human sized stitchless coat. It was kept on a life support system of nutrients fed into the incubator it lived in, but when it grew too big to be contained in the incubator, the right to life issue was soon to be addressed.

5 weeks into the art installation “Design and the Elastic Mind” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Paola Antonelli, curator of the show and head of MoMA’s architecture and design department, had to make the decision to turn off it's life-support which inevitably killed the ‘living creature.’

Paola said , "the jacket started growing, growing, growing until it became too big. And the artists were back in Australia, so I had to make the decision to kill it. And you know what? I felt I could not make that decision. I’ve always been pro-choice and all of a sudden I’m here not sleeping at night about killing a coat. That thing was never alive before it was grown.”

Sounds like an excerpt out of Dr. Frankenstein to me. Will killing the coat haunt the perplexed museum curator for the rest of his life? I hope not. Hey, Poala, just think of it as a ripe tomato that you plucked from the vine. This tiny living coat WAS a weird experiment - kind of creepy, kind of surreal and a little JUST COOL!

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Paul Baines said...

I have always felt that woman has the right to choose what happens within her own body up to the point that any form of consciousness is attained, however I have never been convinced at what stage this is reached. However this 'experiment' in art has repulsed me to the point that I now have trouble, even with my own argument. I'd recently read about an 'art work' involving a starving dog which alongside this work has started to make me wonder how far can artists be allowed to express themselves before it simply becomes an experiment in depravity. I as many will be conflicted by our own moral standards and the question of censorship, this post has reminded me that the argument is far more complicated than I or any other would honestly like to admit. Life is in essence a process of cruelty, consciousness a burden. My mind wants to accept what I see, my body on the other hand is in a state of convulsive turmoil.