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The Gallery at VCUQatar Presents Animal Pharm

March 16, 2011

The Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar presents Animal Pharm curated by Interaction Design Lab (ID-Lab) in Milan with Line Ulrika Christiansen, Stefano Mirti and Elio Caccavale on Wednesday, 16 March, 2011.

The opening reception will be preceded by a lecture by Caccavale at 6:00 PM at the atrium. The event is open to the public.

‘Animal Pharm’ investigates the emergence of biological hybrids in biotechnologies, and our human personal, moral, aesthetic and socio-cultural responses to them. “The main objective of our collaboration is to show the possibilities offered by the intersection of science with design and architecture as a way to explore and envision possible bio-futures”, said Line Ulrika Christiansen director of Design Foundation at VCUQatar and co-founder and partner of ID-Lab. The reception is preceded by a lecture by Elio Caccavale, designer and researcher of life sciences and bioethics partnerships.

Today much of the cutting-edge research in animal husbandry is occurring in the new field of “pharming”. Researchers are transforming herds and flocks into bio-factories in order to produce pharmaceutical products, humanised organs, medicines, and nutrients within animals’ milk and blood. Transgenic animals are able to pass on new genes to their offspring, thereby producing future generations of modified animals. Speculating on the emergence of biological hybrids in biotechnologies, the exhibition explores a curious landscape with cows and sheep grazing, chicken in a coop, and pigs in a sty. “Everything seems familiar; however, this is no ordinary farm. This farm of the near future is actually a ‘pharm,’” said the curators.

Genetic engineering is a new frontier of science that has the possibility to transform our lives. “It opens up a world of wonders redefining what we consider design, architecture, environment, social fiction and science fiction, a world where new architectures are the main stage for a radical, different life. It may look like science fiction but on the contrary it is the real world with existing sciences and technologies that are economically viable and technologically feasible,” said the curators.

“With Animal Pharm we face two challenges: the first is how to communicate to the visitor this fascinating realm. The second is to imagine a world where these biological hybrids and chimeras live next to us. Newspaper headlines like “Featherless Chickens”, “Self-Shearing Sheep”, “Biosteel Goat”, “Glowing Ornamental Fish”, “Xenotransplantation”, “Fatless Pork”, “Glowing Rabbit” and “Asexual Cattle” all have a sensational effect and provide material for science-fiction writers for many years to come,” said Christiansen.

The exhibition is scheduled from 16 March to 16 April, 2011 at The Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar and is open Sundays to Thursdays, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, or by prior appointment. A reception will be held at the gallery on 16 March 2011 following an opening lecture at 6:00 PM. The reception is open to the public. For further information, please call VCUQatar on +974 44020555 or email Dr. Jochen Sokoly on [email protected].

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