Partial Life


ISBN: 978-1-60785-269-8

edited by Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr


This Living Book is partially living – it is about the semi-living and partial lives, about tissues without a body. While the biological body cannot survive without organs and cells, the latter two groups can survive in a technological body, which has been removed and separated from their original biological body. They are living fragments of biological bodies, forms of lab-grown life which have been reconfigured, mixed and remixed, reappropriated, recontextualised and instrumentalised. The semi-living thus require a different epistemological and ontological understanding as well as a different consideration and, by extension, a different taxonomy of life. The liminality of this kind of technological approach to life can lead to a form of fetishism -- Neolifism. The semi-living and partial lives are a new class of objects or beings. In most cases they consist of living and non-living materials; of cells and/or tissues from a complex organism which have been grown over, or into, constructed scaffolds and subsequently kept alive with an artificial support. They are both similar and different from other human artefacts (Homo sapiens’ extended phenotype), such as constructed objects and selectively bred domestic plants and animals (both pets and husbandry). These entities are living biological systems which are artificially designed and which, in their isolation, construction, growth and maintenance, need technological intervention. (more...)

The Historical Perspective on the Semi-Living[edit]

Precursors of the Semi-Living[edit]

Standard of the World Cyphers Incubator Company, Buffalo N.Y., U.S.A. Annual catalogue, published 1896
Poultry Growers' Guide for 1912, published by Buffalo, Cyphers Incubator Co.
Dr Lawrence M. Gartner and Dr Carol B. Gartner 
The Care of Premature Infants: Historical Perspective

The History of Tissue Culture[edit]

Alexis Carrel 
On the Permanent Life of Tissues Outside of the Organism
Alexis Carrel and Montrose T. Burrows 
Cultivation of Tissues In Vitro and Its Technique
Alexis Carrel and Montrose T. Burrows 
An Addition to the Technique of the Cultivation of Tissues In Vitro
Alexis Carrel 
Contributions to the Study of the Mechanism of the Growth of Connective Tissue
J. A. Witkowski 
Alexis Carrel and the Mysticism of Tissue Culture
Alexis Carrel 
Man, the Unknown
Julian Huxley 
The Tissue Culture King

The Plasticity of Cell Lines[edit]

About the ATCC-LGC Standards Partnership, which facilitates the distribution of ATCC cultures and bioproducts to life science researchers throughout Europe and India
Stephen J. O'Brien 
Cell Culture Forensics
Brendan P. Lucey, Walter A. Nelson-Rees and Grover M. Hutchins 
Henrietta Lacks, HeLa Cells, and Cell Culture Contamination

The Technoscientific Body[edit]

Mark J. Powers et al
A Microfabricated Array Bioreactor for Perfused 3D Liver Culture
Jianzhong Xi, Jacob J. Schmidt and Carlo D. Montemagno 
Self-Assembled Microdevices Driven by Muscle
Thomas Boland et al
Cell and Organ Printing 2: Fusion of Cell Aggregates in Three-Dimensional Gels
I. Datar and M. Betti 
Possibilities for an In Vitro Meat Production System
P. D. Edelman et al
In Vitro Cultured Meat Production

Cell Fusion[edit]

Cell Fusion

Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells[edit]

Jeremy P. Brockes and Anoop Kumar 
Appendage Regeneration in Adult Vertebrates and Implications for Regenerative Medicine
Farhan Chowdhury et al
Soft Substrates Promote Homogeneous Self Renewal of Embryonic Stem Cells via Downregulating Cell-Matrix Tractions
Hannah Landecker 
Living Differently in Time: Plasticity, Temporality, and Cellular Biotechnologies

Semi-Living Art[edit]

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr 
Towards a New Class of Being –The Extended Body
Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr 
Big Pigs, Small Wings: On Genohype and Artistic Autonomy
Oron Catts, ed. 
The Aesthetics of Care


The Tissue Culture and Art Project
The Frozen Ark Project


A 'Frozen' PDF Version of this Living Book[edit]

Download a 'frozen' PDF version of this book as it appeared on 7th October 2011