THE SEMI-LIVING WORRY DOLLS
Tissue Culture and Art Project (Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr), Australia
The Semi-Living Worry Dolls were the first tissue engineered sculptures to be presented alive in a gallery eleven years ago. Inspired by the Guatemalan worry dolls given to children to whisper their worries and concerns to, these worry dolls were hand crafted out of degradable polymers (PGA and P4HB) and surgical sutures. The dolls are then seeded with living cells that, throughout the exhibition, will gradually replace the polymers within a micro-gravity bioreactor that acts as a surrogate body. The worry dolls become partially alive. These semi-living dolls represent the current stage of cultural limbo, characterised by childlike innocence and a mixture of wonder and fear of technology. This work invites you to whisper your worries to the worry dolls—will they take your concerns away?