NoArk is a research project exploring the taxonomical crisis that is presented by life forms created through biotechnology. NoArk takes form as an experimental vessel designed to maintain and grow a mass of living cells and tissues that originated from a number of different organisms. This vessel serves as a surrogate body to the collection of living fragments, and is a tangible as well as symbolic ‘craft’ for observing and understanding a biology that combines the familiar with the other.
As opposed to classical methodologies of collection, categorization and display that are seen in Natural History museums, contemporary biological research is focused around manipulation and hybridization, and rarely takes a public form.
To create NoArk we used cellular stock taken from tissue banks, laboratories, museums and other collections. NoArk contains a chimerical ‘blob’ made out of modified living fragments of a number of different organisms, living, in a techno-scientific body. In a sense, we are making a unified collection of unclassifiable sub-organisms.
Like the cabinets of curiosity that preceded the natural history museum’s refined taxonomy so we hope that NoArk will be a symbolic precursor to a new way of approaching the made nature.
NoArk, received second prize in the prestigious international competition VIDA 10.0, rewarding excellence in artistic creativity utilising new technologies and artificial life. A pioneering award in this field, this is the first time VIDA awarded a prize to a work based on biotechnology rather than electronics.