Neringa Černiauskaitė and Ugnius Gelguda have been working since 2014 as the art collective PAKUI HARDWARE, a name that references both mythological and technical concepts, combining these with one another. In the course of a visit to the MdbK the artists were fascinated by the large-scale volume of the structure and the fascinating light situations, especially on the terraces. At the invitation of the museum they created Underbelly, their largest installation to date, for one of the terraces, with a focus on the organs of the lower abdomen. In eight growth chambers suspended from the ceiling glass organ prostheses and silicon arteries lie in nutrient solution, suggesting the biological process of growth.
Science fiction films have long familiarised us with the world of cultivating organs and complex organisms. Just a few weeks ago Japan became the first country in the world to approve chimaera experiments for organ cultivation. PAKUI HARDWARE describe their work as “Hybrids of the artificial and the natural, from that created by humans and that which is already there” and view synthetic biology as an opportunity to devise future scenarios in which people are independent of the organic, ultimately independent even of their own bodies. In conjunction with the translucent, flesh-coloured net, the incubators create a hybrid appearance that fluctuates between nurtured artificial garden and laboratory. As in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, science and contemporary art are moving closer together again. Works of art that reference processes of biotechnology and synthetic biology thus become metaphors for the future and past.