20. 12. 2016

Time: 20:00
Location: BioTehna
Address: Kersnikova ulica 4, Ljubljana


Špela Petrič: ‘Strange Encounters: Metaphysics, Algae and Carcinoma’

My mission is to arrange the extraordinary meeting of a human and a plant in vitro. Comparing the ‘tech-riders’ of various plant and human candidates quickly narrowed the choice to the toughest, most resilient types of cells of each kind – Chlorella representing plants and carcinoma of the bladder representing humans. The genus Chlorella and its relatives are free living, single-celled photosynthetic algae populating a variety of ecological niches, from fresh and semi-salty waters to surfaces exposed to air such as roof tiles and recurrent puddles. It is both the smallest and the most abundant morphological form of a photosynthetic eukaryote. Cancer is a disease, but its cells represent an actualization of the emancipatory potential of entities within the ecosystem of the body. Much like the single-celled algae, it is a pre-specialized assemblage of cells, an expression of the reproductive potential of a metastable cellular unit, allocating all available resources to indefinite multiplication. It’s also the most industrially productive form of mammalian cells – the raw material for research and vaccine/antibody production.

Their fate in my laboratory is uncertain. I am performing biopolitics, selecting, orchestrating, monitoring, documenting, narrating. The cancer and the algae negotiate the space I allow for them. Biopower penetrates the plant just as it does the human. I observe them, I observe myself. The human and the plant, in vitro.

(Špela Petrič)


Kersnikova Institute // Kapelica Gallery + BioTehna

The exhibition was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Department of Culture of the Municipality of Ljubljana.