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 among the first artists to work with biotechnology, contributing to the creation of bioart. She has shown that biology research laboratories can be used as art studios. Her many artworks have incorporated materials and expertise from different disciplines (CRISPR/Cas9, MRI, structural biology, microbiology, among others). Her work has been presented throughout the globe in exhibitions, conferences, and publications. A Portuguese artist with a degree in Fine Arts by the University in Lisbon, a MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture by the University of Oxford, with a ABD from the University of Leiden. Marta has been exploring the intersection between Art and Biology, working in research laboratories demonstrating that new biological technologies can be used as a new art medium. In 1999 de Menezes created 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 probes 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 Director of Cultivamos Cultura in the South of Portugal.