‘The Slow Death of a Semi-Living Worry Doll G:
An Irreversible Performative Execution' (2007)
"The Guatemalan Indians teach their children an old story. When you have worries you tell them to your dolls. At bedtime children are told to take one doll from the box for each worry & share their worry with that doll. Overnight, the doll will solve their worries. Remember, since there are only six dolls per box, you are only allowed six worries per day."
This project is an elaboration on our Tissue Culture & Art(ificial) Wombs (2000) that was first presented in Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria in 2000. The Semi-Living Worry Dolls were the first tissue engineered sculptures to be presented alive in a gallery context.
In that piece we constructed seven tissue engineered sculptures based on the Guatemalan Worry Dolls Legend. Back then we gave the dolls alphabetical names from A to H while dropping Semi-Living Doll G from various reasons, mainly as a counter balance to a Genohype ‘suffered’ by our society.
Seven years later we decided to resurrect doll G only so we could engage with her slow death.
As the Semi-Living Worry Dolls are supposed to solve people’s worries, we want to express our worry and growing concern regarding the persistence of the Genohype; the almost universal perceptions that modern biology (and sometimes life itself) deals only with the molecular level of the genetic code. The popular assumption is that the code is life and life is information. We hope Semi-Living Doll G will sway this misconception away.
We are also interested in staging a (semi) living art piece that focuses attention on the most obvious (but discursively neglected) aspect of living art – it is in the process of dying.
A larger scale Semi-Living Worry Doll is constructed and placed (or hanged) in our custome designed drip feed perfusion bioreactor.. During the installation as the cells grow and the polymer degrade we expect that the head of the doll to separate from the body which will then lie in a paddle of nutrient solution
connective tissue (fibroblast cells), Biodegradable/bioabsorbable Polymers, custom designed perfusion pump, and glassware..