Pigs Wings

Pigs Wings

Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr & Guy Ben-Ary

Pig Wings presents three sets of wings made out of pig mesenchymal cells—bone marrow stem cells—which were grown over biodegradable polymers. Grown for approximately nine months in a rotary bioreactor, each wing measures 4cm x 2cm x 0.5cm. After the wings reached their final size, the were preserved, coated with gold and kept in jewellery boxes.

Winged bodies (both animal and human) have been used in the myths about chimeras and hybrids in most cultures throughout history. The moral status of these chimeras was often conveyed through the bodily features, especially through the type of wings they were adorned with. Good, angelic creatures are often depicted with bird wings, while evil, satanic creatures have bat wings. However, there is yet another solution to flight in vertebrates which seems to be mostly free of cultural values, that of the Pterosaurs. Pigs Wings uses all three types of wings as manifestations of the potential moral status that future objects grown in a lab may have. What kind of relationships we will form with semi-living objects: objects which are partly alive and partly constructed? How are we going to treat animals with human DNA? How will we treat humans with animal parts? What will happen when these technologies will be used for purposes other then strictly saving life?

Advances in bio-medical technologies such as tissue engineering, xenotransplantation, and genomics promise to render the living body as a malleable mass. The rhetoric used by private and public developers, as well as the media, have created public anticipation for less-than-realistic outcomes. The full impact of these powerful technologies on the body and society have, in most cases, only been  superficially discussed.

Pig Wings was developed from 2000 to 2001 during a residency in the Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication Laboratory in Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!