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AFTERLIFE: IMMORTALISATION OF KIRA AND RAMA

Svenja Johni Kratz, Australia

Afterlife: The Immortalisation of Kira and Rama is inspired by the shifting understandings of life and death and the interconnections between self and other in response to contemporary biotechnologies. The work involves the production of a custom-made Egyptian-inspired bioreactor containing living foetal calf cells that have been immortalised using a lentiviral plasmid (bacterial DNA molecule containing viral vectors), as well as preserved items from the calves’ bodies including their hearts, hide and bone fragments. The work looks at the ethical ambiguities and challenges that accompany the use and manipulation of organisms, in particular the use of Foetal Bovine Serum (FBS) in cell and tissue culture. FBS is a protein rich serum derived from the blood of foetal calves used as a nutrient supplement to enable cells in culture to survive. The work highlights that there are victims at every level of consumption, and that the boundaries between harm and benefit are in constant flux and often blurred. This exhibit—a work in progress—is a collaboration between SymbioticA Research Group, Svenja Kratz, Dusty Tame and John Barnard.

AFTERLIFE: IMMORTALISATION OF KIRA AND RAMA Interview
AFTERLIFE: IMMORTALISATION OF KIRA AND RAMA Photo: Svenja Johni Kratz
AFTERLIFE: IMMORTALISATION OF KIRA AND RAMA Photo: Ruza Leko