Cryobook Archives

A research-creation project by Tagny Duff developed at SymbioticA, The Centre for Excellence in Biological Arts. The cryobook display unit is developed in collaboration with David St,Onge (NXI Gestatio/UQAM), Benoit Allen and Jean-Michel Dussault (University of Laval).

Bodies and wet body bits are made mobile and fluid through biomedical and biotechnological means. Tissue and organs are transported across geographic and temporal borders via close attention to temperature, movement and pressure. They travel across oceans and continents to laboratory and medical outposts, and in some cases, the underground stations of the black market. They can outlive the lives of their donors through immortalized cell lines and cryogenics. Tissue culture is part of the new global information economy where it is routinely packaged and shipped, sold, recycled and conserved in cryopreservation libraries.

This research creation project is an evolving installation featuring roaming sculptures made of human ex-plant tissue and Lentivirus that have been bound into a series of handmade books. Using tissue culture engineering techniques such as transfection and immunohistochemical staining procedures, images of HIV were embedded into the tissue covers. The books are sewn together with archival paper via surgeons stitches and cat gut sutures. The books are exhibited in a cryobook archive–a small portable freezer unit made into a portable library. In this case, the cryobooks are displayed on shelves that can be observed through glass. When not in use, the detachable portable library sits on a -80 degree biomedical freezer used to transport biomedical specimens.

Click here to see ongoing documentation and description about this project
Research and development phase funded by the Canada Council For the Arts. Later stages funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Concordia University.

Exhibited in VISCERAL: THE LIVING ART EXPERIMENT, at the Science Gallery: 28 January – 25 February 2011, Dublin