Victimless Leather

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Victimless Leather: A Prototype of Stitch-less Jacket grown in a Technoscientific ‘Body’

2004

The ‘victimless leather’ is grown from immortalised cell lines which are cultured and form a living layer of tissue supported by a biodegradable polymer matrix in the form of a miniature stitch-less coat-like shape. The victimless leather is grown inside a custom made perfusion chamber (inspired by the organ perfusion pump originally designed by Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh). It is an automatic dripping system which drips into the polymers and feeds the cells.   The Victimless Leather project is concerned with growing living tissue into a leather-like material.

Humans, the naked/nude apes, have been covering their fragile bodies/skins to protect

themselves from the external environment. This humble act for survival has developed into a complex social ritual which transformed the concept of a ‘Garment’ into an evocative object that cannot be taken on its face value.

Garments became an expressive tool to project one’s identity, social class, political stand and so on. Garments are humans’ fabrication and can be explored as a tangible example of humans’ treatment of the Other.

By growing Victimless Leather, the Tissue Culture & Art (TC&A) Project is further problematising the concept of garment by making it Semi-Living.

The Victimless Leather is grown out of immortalised cell lines which [are] cultured and form a living layer of tissue supported by a biodegradable polymer matrix in a form of miniature stitch-less coat-like shape. The Victimless Leather project [is] concerned with growing living tissue into a leather like material.

This artistic grown garment will confront people with the moral implications of wearing parts of dead animals for protective and aesthetic reasons and will further confront notions of relationships with living systems manipulated or otherwise. An actualized possibility of wearing ‘leather’ without killing an animal is offered as a starting point for cultural discussion.

Our intention is not to provide yet another consumer product but rather to raise questions about our exploitation of other living beings. We see our role as artists as one in which we are providing tangible example of possible futures, and research the potential affects of these new forms on our cultural perceptions of life. It is not our role to provide people with goods for their daily use. We would like our work to be seen in this cultural context, and not in a commercial context.

As part of the TC&A project we are artistically exploring and provoking notions relating to human conduct with other living systems, or to the Other. This particular project will deconstruct our cultural meaning of clothes as a second skin by materialising it and displaying it as an art object.

This piece also presents an ambiguous and somewhat ironic take into the technological price our society will need to pay for achieving ‘a victimless utopia’.