Nigel Helyer, Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr, Sarah Jane Pell, Stuart Hodgetts: LifeBoat

  • ©, Oron Catts, Dr. Ionat Zurr, Sarah Jane Pell, and Stuart Hodgetts, LifeBoat
  • ©, Oron Catts, Dr. Ionat Zurr, Sarah Jane Pell, and Stuart Hodgetts, LifeBoat

Artist Statement:


    LifeBoat is a prosaic title indicating both the physical reality (the project is contained within a ship’s lifeboat) and somewhat more conceptually, as the lifeboat has become home to a Biotechnology lab; to the processes of life itself. On a metaphorical level, this project is designed to deal with concepts of sustainability, survival and notions of biological, cultural and ideological re-generation, and naturally its obverse, the degradation of life and all its manifestations.
    When the Maori people of New Zealand first encountered Cook’s ship (the Endeavour) they thought it to be a floating island. Although at first this may seem a ‘quaint’ reaction, the Maori were perfectly accurate. As a device of European expansion and exploitation [and as a scientific voyage) the Endeavour was in fact a highly compressed version of English culture. This was no simple floating transport, but a microcosm of language, mathematics, philosophy, foodstuffs, social and political structures, religion, not to mention sexual appetites and exotic diseases. If England itself had somehow drifted into the South Pacific, the effect would have not really been any different!

    On board of Silja Opera, The SymbioticA crew inhabits a standard (fully enclosed) ship’s lifeboat and develops a working Biological Laboratory that focuses on tissue culture of elements of the local marine environment. The lab produces small biological survival packs as well as [instructional) starter packs for re¬establishing and/or deconstructing cultural and political structures [e.g. starter packs for alternative democracy seem to be a good idea in the current political climate!). In addition to exploring life on the Baltic, the LifeBoat crew will carry out preparatory lab work at Heureka’s Open Lab.


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