Spare Parts:Rethinking Human Repair

28 Feb 2019 – 12 May 2019

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

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SPARE PARTS:RETHINKING HUMAN REPAIR is a free exhibition and accompanying events programme exploring the art, science, ethics and technology that enables human repair and alteration.


Artists featured in SPARE PARTS include:

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, world-renowned artists and curators exploring the ethics behind regenerative biology technologies. Vessels of Care & Control: Compostcubator 2.0, consists of a low-tech incubator, engineered to be heated by compost and decomposing mulch. This installation, situated in the newly-renovated Guy’s Courtyard, harnesses the power of living microbes to support the development of cellular life.

In an era where the lifestyle of humans is threatening extinction of the honey bee, Hivecubator 3.0, by artist and beekeeper Michael Bianco, highlights our human interdependence with bees. This DIY incubator is designed to care for living tissues grown in-vitro with the survival of the cells reliant on the health of the bee colony that lives within the incubator.

Australian interdisciplinary artist John A Douglas’ video installation Circles of Fire,is an allegorical retelling of the artist’s physical and emotional journey through his real-life experience of receiving a donated kidney.

Multi-disciplinary designer Salomé Bazin, founder of Cellule, a collaborative design studio for healthcare innovation, and Pablo Lamata from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at King's College London, have devised a system for creating personalised digital and 3D-printed model of hearts that can help doctors plan surgery for transplant patients. Big Heart Data, a Science Gallery London commission, aims to visually render the mathematical modelling of the growth of a given heart to prevent heart disease and ultimately surgery.

Canadian biologist and artist Francois-Joseph Lapointe and art historian Marianne Cloutier of the Department of Biological Science, Université de Montréal have developed the Microbiome Rebirth Incubator, an installation exploring microbiomial transfer between mothers and babies during childbirth. The work examines the possibility of enhancing the microbiome by seeding babies born by caesarean section with the mother’s bacteria.

Listening Objects by sculptor and installation artist Tabatha Andrews are wearable ‘micro installations’ designed to alter our perceptions of sound and space through audio prosthesis. 'Disturbance III' is an acoustic wall of felt that absorbs light and sound, questioning the relationship between sight, hearing and touch. Hum, a musical score composed by Andrews and performed by soprano Victoria Oruwari will be played in the gallery space, temporarily altering the listeners’ hearing ability and the normal functioning of the inner ear. 

Designer Agi Haines’ The Anatomy Lesson: Dissecting Medical Futures is an interactive visceral voyage into future medicine. Audiences will be able to interact with and probe futuristically modified body parts, created by Haines, to determine the positive and negative effects of technological innovation.

Photographer Tim Wainwright and sound artist John Wynne’s Birds I Wouldn’t Have Heard, conveys the impact of disease and organ transplantation on the daily lives and identity of transplant recipients. These video and audio portraits use materials gathered at transplant wards at the Royal Free and Harefield Hospitals, with insights into individual experience contrasted by photographs of the hospital environment and paraphernalia.

Crafting the Body is a research project and installation from King’s College London that explores the use of traditional textile craft techniques, such as embroidery and lace-making, and applies them to the fields of tissue engineering and body repair. London-based textile designer Amy Congdon worked with the Tissue Engineering and Biophotonics Department at King’s, using her knowledge of textiles to research the making of couture biological body parts.

Four columns of light make up Michael Pinsky’s Life Pulse; registering visitor’s heartbeats to create ever-changing illuminated rhythms and patterns. Through the process of setting their own heartbeat in light the users conjoin with the sculpture to create a kinetic form, part human, part technological.

Burton Nitta’s New Organs of Creation, attempts to heal the divided voice of the British people using tissue engineering techniques. This audio work uses the voices of people from across Britain as they talk about their hopes for the future of the nation. Nitta will create an artificial voice, generated by a bioengineered vocal box, by combining these collective voices with the latest research in stem cell technology. The project is made in collaboration with Professor Lucy Di-Silvio, Professor of Tissue Engineering and her team at the Department of Tissue Engineering and Biophotonics, King’s College London.

Tina Gorjanc’s The Self-Donor Workshop, is a factory of the future in the form of a production chain for bioengineered body parts. This participatory installation suggests a future in which everyone would be able to have failing organs replaced by growing cells extracted from their own tissues, thus avoiding the need for donor organs and immunosuppressant drugs.

Antye Guenther’s Prosthesis – Simulation kit of externalised human brain tissue comprises a display case with 12 possible brain prosthetics. A supporting soundtrack plays the recording of the artist's presentation of the fictional future where differently shaped brain extensions boost the performance or regenerate lost functions of our brain.

Svenja Kratz’s Monument to Immortality includes a holographic representation merging time-lapse cell imagery with genetic algorithms, a live feed of the cells growing at Science Gallery London and a 3D-printed structure created by translating the movement of cells into a sculptural form. The Ghost Writer writing machine uses a programmed neural network to produce a narrative based on an original stream-of-consciousness text created by Kratz reflecting on the prospect of separating the mind from the body and being resurrected as an artificial life entity. Over time, the AI engine will re-combine and re-write the original story to produce a new text.

At the centre of the exhibition, immersive experience ‘The Gut’ offers an interactive space to explore the art and science of human repair first hand. Visitors can splice cacti to help them understand issues surrounding human tissue grafting, stitch together electrodes while considering innovations in biotechnology, thumb reading materials gathered for the Foreign Bodies Reading Group and exchange bacteria via the SuperTurd Card Game.


Stéphanie Delcroix

Exhibiting artistsToggle

John Wynne

Marianne Cloutier

Agi Haines

Tim Wainwright

John A Douglas

Francois-Joseph Lapointe

Tina Gorjanc

Antye Guenther

Michael Bianco

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr

Svenja Kratz

Amy Congdon

Michael Pinsky

Salomé Bazin

Tabatha Andrews

Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta


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