The Royal College of Art today announced the appointment of Oron Catts and Dr Ionat Zurr as visiting faculty in its School of Design, led by Professor Dale Harrow.
Catts and Zurr are artists, researchers and curators, whose work explores the philosophical and ethical considerations of new technological approaches to life, including regenerative biology and synthetic biology . As well as operating within art and design discourses, Catts and Zurr’s practice frames leading-edge scientific processes in a design environment and is at the forefront of a growing interest in exploring tissue engineering and regenerative biology technologies in non-medical contexts, including consumer products, new materials, art, design, architecture, fiction and food.
Catts is currently director of SymbioticA (which he co-founded in 2000), an artistic research centre housed within the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, the University of Western Australia, and Zurr Assistant Professor at the School and the centre’s academic coordinator. The RCA thanks the University of Western Australia for generously permitting Catts and Zurr to undertake these new roles at the RCA.
Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art, said, ‘The appointment of Oron Catts and Dr Ionat Zurr as visiting faculty at the RCA is a major advance for this university, as we seek to explore the cultural, ethical and aesthetic implications of synthetic biology. Catts and Zurr have taken biotech out of the life science lab and placed it into the design studio, under the gaze of the artist. They will play a very significant role in the new RCA.’
Dr Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York commented, ‘Biodesign is one of the most promising and complex new fields of research and practice. Working on semi-living designs that are constructed and grown, and nurtured by artificial means, “culture” designers Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr are influential trailblazers, who have trained designers and civilians to tackle complex ethical dilemmas and acquire a more responsible stance towards biotechnology.’ Antonelli, an honorary doctor of the Royal College of Art, served on the search committee.