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Verena Friedrich

Verena Friedrich's Cellular Performance (2011) features in Material Concerns at LifeSpace.

In this digital video animation, skin cells have been manipulated in the laboratory to form letters and words from the “cosmeceutical” industry - where hybrid products between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are developed. These products claim to have medical or drug-like benefits on the skin and are named to suggest bio-technological possibilities. This marketing language evokes the body’s performance, manipulation and enhancement, with a focus on its cellular and subcellular dimensions (Flash Recharge, Skin Vivo, Cell Defense).

Over several months, selected skin cell lines were cultured in the lab at SymbioticA (the first research laboratory of its kind in the world, enabling artists and researchers to engage in wet biology practices in a University-based biological science department). In the course of numerous experiments, the cells were engineered to grow into defined micro-structures. The ephemeral outcome of this procedure was then recorded by means of live cell imaging and time-lapse microscopy.

Verena Friedrich (b.1981) studied at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and the University of Art and Design Offenbach and is currently based in Cologne, where she is Artist in Residence at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing. Her work crosses media in many forms; in 2005 she won the International Media Award for Science and Art from ZKM Karlsruhe and more recently received a special mention in the VIDA Art and Artificial Life International Awards (edition 13.2, 2011).

Courtesy of the artist.

Researched and developed in collaboration with:
SymbioticA – Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, Perth, Australia, and the Laboratory of Stem Cell Bioengineering, EPF Lausanne, Switzerland. Supported by the Arts Foundations of North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxon Ministry of Sciences and the Fine Arts, Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Goethe-Institut Sydney, the Fremantle Arts Centre and the City of Fremantle and Hackteria.