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Playing God 

Wednesday, Oct 24 2007
The group exhibit "BioTechnique" features artwork that is "grown": organisms, semi-living objects, and life-support systems crafted using biological techniques. You probably perked up at "semi-living objects." That refers to the work of the Tissue Culture and Art Project, known for Victimless Leather, which is … well, let's let TCAP explain it while we lay down the needle on our Frankenstein record: "The Victimless Leather project concerns growing living tissue into a leather-like material." Excuse us — huh? "Victimless Leather is grown out of immortalized cell lines … and form a living layer of tissue supported by a biodegradable polymer matrix in a form of a miniature stitchless coatlike shape." The VL looks as freaky as it sounds: Surrounded by foggy beakers full of curious fluids is a smoky glass orb. There, in its center, hangs a tiny, embryonic leather jacket, a terrifying ball of flesh-colored tissue that, to be honest, looks kinda comfortable. Other artists in the show include Denise King, who offers "paintings" in which the artists are bacteria, coloring the terrarium habitats they live in, and Brandon Ballengée, who offers up amphibians with deformities. "BioTechnique" is curated by Philip Ross, who has a thing for space-aged, controlled hydroponic environments, which are survival pods for living plants. The heavily funded biotechnology scene also gets a share of the halogen spotlight, with "artifacts" by the industrial technologists, ecological researchers, and biological engineers of Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Thursday's opening features more treats: screenings of Jean Painlevé's experimental science documentaries, the Vital Psigns seed project (in which you project your thoughts onto plants), and a soundtrack by Chris Kubick, which promises "your favorite spooky scientific sounds."

The opening reception starts at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25.
Oct. 25-Nov. 6, 2007

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Michael Leaverton


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