Posted by: wtfwjd? | May 20, 2008

Art Imitates Life

This is beyond weird:

One of the strangest exhibits at the opening of “Design and the Elastic Mind,” the very strange show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that explores the territory where design meets science, was a teeny coat made out of living mouse stem cells. The “victimless leather” was kept alive in an incubator with nutrients, unsettlingly alive. Until recently, that is.

Paola Antonelli, a senior curator at the museum, had to kill the coat. “It was growing too much,” she said in an interview from a conference in Belgrade. The cells were multiplying so fast that the incubator was beginning to clog. Also, a sleeve was falling off. So after checking with the coat’s creators, a group known as SymbioticA, at the School of Anatomy & Human Biology at the University of Western Australia in Perth, she had the nutrients to the cells stopped.

Though she has said “I felt cruel when I turned it off,” Ms. Antonelli said in the more recent interview that it was, essentially, a simple decision tinged with a bit of regret. “It was the only piece in the show that was alive,” she said. “It really was an amazing piece.”

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