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Offering the Body: Performing proximity in the use of cellular material

Published onJul 09, 2022

Louise Mackenzie, Ph.D. is an artist and research associate with the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment, University of Newcastle, United Kingdom. She makes artworks that explore material connections with scientific culture. She is co-founder of interdisciplinary projects, Black Box and Alive Together and is a member of the Cultural Negotiation of Science research group. Publishing credits include Leonardo (MIT Press) and Technoetic Arts (Intellect).

For Technoetic Arts 18.2-3 , special issue “Taboo–Transgression–Transcendence in Art & Science”, Louise Mackenzie wrote Offering the Body: Performing proximity in the use of cellular material (pp. 197–204 ):

“Cellular and sub-cellular material becomes creative medium across a range of disciplines that engage with biotechnology, from medicine to art practice. Historically, these practices complicate the boundaries of the body through patriarchal and colonial narratives of abstraction and extraction. In contrast to the ethical requirements of anonymity in medical research, this article suggests that material culture has a duty to know the body it works with. Three brief histories of bodily donation are recounted and aspects of these are contrasted with contemporary approaches to the use of bodily material within art practice. The developing project, Offering the Body, is offered as an example of performative practice that reintroduces a proximity to the body in biotechnological practices and begins to question whether through art practice, the biological body can move from commodity to be considered as a more-than-human resource.”

Mackenzie, Louise ([2020] 2022), ‘Offering the Body: Performing proximity in
the use of cellular material’, Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, 18:2&3, pp. 197–204,

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Volume 18 Numbers 2 & 3,, © 2020 Intellect Ltd.

||| Founding Editor: Roy Ascott Issue 18.2-3 Editor: Dalila Honorato Editorial Organism: Tom Ascott, John Bardakos, Dalila Honorato, Hu Yong, Claudia Jacques, Claudia Westermann Production Manager: Faith Newcombe

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