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Patricia Piccinini

Much of Patricia Piccinini’s work draws on the slick aesthetic of advertising to explore the relationships between technoscience and commodity culture. Themes of biotechnology and genetic engineering recur in Piccinini’s work, and are explored in a variety of media including digital photography, sculpture, sound, video and installation.

The Mutant Genome Project (1994-95) is Piccinini’s response to the Human Genome project and its ideological relationships to the quest for perfection. Piccinini’s LUMPs (Lifeform with Unevolved Mutant Properties) are the focus of this series. “These babies were redesigned by an engineer for total efficiency. They are intelligent, long-lived, disease resistant, but as you can see, they were not human.” (Patricia Piccinini, public Lecture, Tokyo Art University, 2003, available from http://www.patriciapiccinini.net/). The relations between science and the commodity are further explored in the series, Your Time Starts Now (1996), in which Piccinini transforms the LUMP into a commodity form and object of consumerist desire.

Piccinini examines the implications of technoscience on human identities in her 1997 series Protein Lattice. This series of type-C digital prints features models posing with a rodent with a human ear growing out of its back. The models’ beautiful, fetishised bodies initially form a startling contrast to this grotesque result of scientific experimentation, but ultimately problematise the natural/artificial dialectic.

In Nature’s Little Helpers (2004), Piccinini’s digital prints are exhibited with sculptures of creatures designed to ‘assist’ endangered Australian animals. “In the photographs, we follow more closely one of these creatures, ‘The Bodyguard (for the Golden Helmeted Honeyeater)’... The sculptures present a series of quite considered propositions for helper species while photographs play out the possibility of the ‘success’ of such an idea.” (Patricia Pinnini, Artist Statement 2005, http://www.roslynoxley9.com.au/news/releases/2005/09/03/95/)