2.6g 329m/s BULLETPROOF SKIN / LIFE VESSELS
Jalila Essaïdi is based at the DIYbio lab BioArt Laboratory in Eindhoven. We’ll be showing her work 2.6g 329m/s BULLETPROOF SKIN, a piece of in vitro human skin reinforced with genetically modified spider silk, and a series of new works called LIFE VESSELS which explore how future humans could gradually have spider silk skin.
2.6g 329m/s BULLETPROOF SKIN
EXPLORING BOUNDARIES BY PIERCING BARRIERS
2.6g 329m/s is the performance standard for bulletproof vests. A Type 1 bulletproof vest should protect you from a .22 calibre Long Rifle bullet of this weight and speed. Could spider silk protect us to this standard?
A WORK ABOUT THE RELATIVITY- AND DUAL NATURE OF SAFETY.
What does it mean to be safe? How do media representations of violence manipulate our feeling of safety? How should we seek to protect ourselves?
With ‘2.6g 329m/s’, also known as ‘Bulletproof Skin’, Jalila Essaïdi explores the social, political, ethical and cultural issues surrounding safety in a world with access to new biotechnologies – by reinforcing in vitro human skin with spider silk from genetically modified organisms in order to stop a speeding bullet.
Spider silk thread is relatively much stronger than steel. Woven thickly, it could resist the impact of a bullet – it would stick like a bee in the spider’s web. If human skin could contain this material, would we be protected from bullets? Together with the Forensic Genomics Consortium Netherlands, Essaïdi took this to the test, by implanting transgenic spider silk in human skin and letting a bullet do its work.
With this work Essaïdi wants to show that safety in its broadest sense is a relative concept. What does it really mean for something to be bulletproof?
During the exhibition Jalila also presents her new work 'Life Vessels'. This work is a natural continuation of '2.6g 329m/s'. It embroiders on the conclusion that strengthening the human skin makes the person not less vulnerable. In a world where skin no longer effectively shields our inner selves, 'Life Vessels' is a search to find, preserve and harbor the essence of life.
Jalila Essaïdi, an artist living and working in the Netherlands, is founder and director of the BioArt Laboratories in Eindhoven, a laboratory open to innovators from any field, and director of the biotech company Inspidere®.
Essaïdi has received several awards, including the Designers & Artists 4 Genomics Award for her project with applied biopolymers and an Honorary Mention in the Category of Hybrid Art of the Prix Ars Electronica 2012. Essaïdi’s projects have been covered by major media including Reuters, Huffington Post, CNN and the BBC, among numerous others, and she has given interviews and lectures all over the world.