Anti-Marta is an installation exploring the limits of human individuality in the face of an increasingly biotech-based society. It represents the relationship between an artist and a scientist, but also the boundary between art and science, and the limits of our own identity. Marta and Luis, an artist and an immunologist, have a pact for life: mated, married, united. Their search for an artistic representation of such a pact led to the transplantation of skin grafts. In both cases, the outcome was a tension between their individualities and their bonding. The skin transplants were also rapidly rejected, given the immunity differences. Yet, in both cases the pact can live on. The immortal cell lines can co-exist in virtual space, where video projections of living cell cultures intersect in the installation. On the same note, the rejection of skin has led to the production of molecules (antibodies) that forever will be able to identify the other, like the acquisition of a sixth sense that can be visualized through the isolation of appropriate antibodies. Anti-Marta shows how we can bond with another and yet maintain a strong sense of identity. In Anti-Marta, it is not only a woman and a man who assert their relationship and identity, but also an artist and a scientist, who demonstrate the connection between the two disciplines while maintaining their uniqueness.
Marta de Menezes (PT) Anti-Marta
Marta de Menezes (PT)
Marta de Menezes is a Portuguese artist (b.,1975 in Lisbon) with a degree in Fine Arts from the University in Lisbon and a MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture from the University of Oxford. She is also a PhD candidate at the University of Leiden. Her main interest is the intersection between Art and Biology, and she has been working in research laboratories to demonstrate that new biological technologies can be used as a new art medium. In 1999, de Menezes produced her first biological artwork (Nature?) by modifying the wing patterns of live butterflies. Since then, she has used diverse biological techniques, including functional MRI of the brain, to create portraits where the mind can be visualised (Functional Portraits, 2002); fluorescent DNA samples to create micro-sculptures in human cell nuclei (nucleArt, 2002); sculptures made of proteins (Proteic Portrait, 2002-2007), DNA (Innercloud, 2003; The Family, 2004) or incorporating live neurons (Tree of Knowledge, 2005) or bacteria (Decon, 2007). Her work has been presented internationally in exhibitions, articles, and lectures. She is currently the artistic director of Ectopia, an experimental art laboratory in Lisbon, and the Head of Cultivamos Cultura in southern Portugal.