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CleanRooms - Artists confront Biotechnology in the UK

GALLERY OLDHAM, Oldham, Greater Manchester, UK

5th October - 30th November 2002

Performance of GenTerra by Critical Art Ensemble - Saturday 5th October 2002 12-4PM

The Arts Catalyst's first foray into the world of biotechnology, CleanRooms challenges responses to a science often perceived as secretive and sinister. Exploring ideas of contamination and containment, ethics and accountability, it asks the audience to decide how far they themselves would go with the emerging powers of genetic manipulation.

US group Critical Art Ensemble presents their participatory performance GenTerra. Lab-coated representatives from the GenTerra biotechnology corporation introduce their bioproducts and answer your questions about transgenics. After you have had the opportunity to weigh up the pros and cons, you are offered a spin of a transgenic 'wheel of fortune': a bacteria release mechanism.

In Czarnecki's evocative, unnerving installation Silvers Alter, life-size human forms "live" within a large video projection in the gallery. They are the subjects for you to manipulate and mate. The 'beings' you create have never existed before. Silvers Alter raises a simple question; to what extent are we prepared to participate in all that we have made possible and that we aspire to make possible for ourselves?

Neal White's Uncontrolled Hermetic recreates one of the controlled areas or clean rooms used in industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. You, the visitor, fulfil the final part of this system, as the contaminating or contaminated body, the weakest link in the ultraclean technology chain: a human being.

Gallery Oldham is 20 minutes by train from Manchester Victoria Station. Manchester is about 3-5 hours by train from London, depending on day of travel.

more info: www.artscatalyst.org
44 (0)20 7375 3690 44 (0)7808 727337 (cellphone on day of performance)