Eduardo Kac

Specimen of secrecy about marvelous discoveries - Installation - 2009

présentée dans le cadre de l'exposition Panorama 11


Specimen of Secrecy about Marvelous Discoveries is a series of works comprised of what i call "biotopes", that is, living pieces that change during the exhibition in response to internal metabolism and environmental conditions, including temperature, relative humidity, airflow, and light levels in the exhibition space. Each of my biotopes is literally a self-sustaining ecology comprised of thousands of very small living beings in a medium of earth, water, and other materials. i orchestrate the metabolism of this diverse microbial life in order to produce the constantly-evolving living works. the biotopes are a discrete ecology because within their world the microorganisms interact with and support each other (that is, the activities of one organism enable another to grow, and vice-versa). However, they are not entirely secluded from the outside world: the aerobic organisms within the biotope absorb oxygen from outside (while the anaerobic ones comfortably migrate to regions where air cannot reach). A complex set of relationships emerge as the work unfolds, bringing together the internal dialogical interactions among the microorganisms in the biotope and the interaction of the biotope as a discrete unit (i.e. as a body, as an individual) with the external world. The biotope is affected by several factors, including the very presence of viewers, which can increase the temperature in the room (warm bodies) and release other micro-organisms in the air (breathing, sneezing). i consider the exhibition opening as the birth of a given biotope. Once an exhibition begins, i allow the micro-organisms in suspended animation to become active again. From that point on i no longer intervene. the work becomes progressively different, livings and changing every day, every week, every month -- like us.

Eduardo Kac


Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains, Tourcoing