Hideo Iwasaki instructs Oron Catts in cyanobacteria protocols.
Hideo Iwasaki works in the fields of both biological science and contemporary art. He obtained his Ph.D. in biology from Nagoya University (1999) and is currently working at Waseda University (since 2005) and is a presto researcher of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (since 2007). As a biologist, he has studied spatiotemporal pattern formation dynamics in cyanobacteria, including molecular genetics of biological clocks, reconstitution of in vitro circadian biochemical oscillations, quantitative analysis of spatial patterning with cell differentiation, and population dynamics of colony pattern formations. As an artist, he has produced contemporary abstract paper cut art to be exhibited as three-dimensional installations and worked on lab biomedia art, especially using cyanobacteria. At his lab, both fine/media artists and scientists share the benches for biology and art simultaneously. His artworks have been exhibited at Havana Biennial, sicf, Holland Paper Biennial, and Artist-in-Residence in Linz. He is co-founder of the Japanese Society for Cell Synthesis Research and the head of the Socio-Cultural Unit.
Oron Catts is currently setting up a biological art lab called BiofiliA—Base for Biological art and design—at the School of Art, Design, and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki, where he is a visiting professor. He is also the founder and director of SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Anatomy, Physiology, and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia, and a visiting professor of design interactions, Royal College of Art, London. Oron is an artist, researcher, and curator whose pioneering work with the Tissue Culture & Art Project, which he established in 1996, is considered a leading biological art project. In 2000, he founded SymbioticA, which, under Oron’s leadership, won the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Art (2007) and became a Centre for Excellence in 2008. In 2009, Oron was recognized by Thames & Hudson’s 60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future book in the category “Beyond Design” and by Icon Magazine (U.K.) as one of the top 20 designers, “making the future and transforming the way we work.” Catts’s interest is life, more specifically the shifting relations and perceptions of life in the light of new knowledge and its application. Often working in collaboration with other artists (mainly Ionat Zurr) and scientists, Catts has developed a body of work that speaks volumes about the need for new cultural articulation of evolving concepts of life. Oron was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and a visiting scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University.