Semi-Living Food: “Disembodied Cuisine,” by Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr

Picture of Feast (Image by Axel Heise)

Artist: Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr

Title:  Semi-Living Food: “Disembodied Cuisine”

Year created: started in 2000, performed in 2003.

Location: Boston, USA

Materials: Pre-natal sheep or frog stem cells, biodegradable polymer matrix, incubator.

In the top left hand side of the image is a degradable polymer scaffold, which would be cultured with pre-natal sheep skeletal muscle cells to create the semi living steak, such as that in the lower right hand side of the image.

What is the piece’s impact? The piece highlights the hypocrisy of trying to love and respect all living things, yet continuing to eat a certain subset of living things. “A biopsy will be taken from an animal which will continue to live and be displayed in the gallery along side the growing “steak”. This installation will culminate in a “feast”.” in the exhibition space.” (source)

How does this project relate to this change as art? It relates to the massive and unsustainable industrial complex that supports the consumption of other animals, and uses new technology to pose questions about the legitimacy of this form of consumption. “Potentially this work presents a future in which there will be meat (or protein rich food) for vegetarians and the killing and suffering of animals destined for food consumption will be reduced.” It also points to the potential development of new life forms for exploitation.” (source)

What makes this an artistic project? It has been lead by artists, and it’s main mission is to provoke discussion about technology, the explotation of “the Other” and the cost of consumption.


Other works by the same artists:

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