Open Source Body: Art, Open Health and Radical Care

How can we foster relationships between art practices and biomedical health research? How can art raise issues of equity in access to healthcare? What kind of vocabulary and methodologies can we use to engage and encourage interdisciplinary collaborations that might actively contribute to supporting vulnerable or sick people, or those who are victims of discriminatory access to healthcare services? And how can we respond to urgent issues such as the exclusion of marginalized groups from healthcare services, the collapse of environmental health and the need for radical care in these pandemic times?

Questions such as “Does my body and everything that it’s made of and everything that it produces belong to me?” may seem to have simple answers, but they are not as straightforward in the context of drug treatments, where health and genetic data is collected, stored and commercialized by private companies. These issues of control, property and governance of our own bodies—which all have serious individual repercussions, especially in the case of marginalized bodies—can be highlighted by art practices.

Contemporary artist researchers also engage discussions on other current issues: policies of access to healthcare services; an integrated approach to global healthcare that takes into account the limits of the planet, while emphasizing the social aspects of healthcare, development aid for training and building autonomy (among socially marginalized groups and ethnic minorities in both highly industrialized and less industrialized countries); claiming corporal autonomy, “xenopolitical” subversion and desacralizing science and academic medicine. Artists remind us that subversion, or at least establishing points of resistance, is a pre-condition for citizens to take control of the challenges posed by science.

Conversely, medical professionals, living labs and open scientific communities appreciate the creative minds of artists, as well as their unique approaches to discussing ethics and equity in access to healthcare. But these fragile collaborations have difficulty finding dedicated structures for fruitful production. Open Source Body fosters these encounters between art practices and healthcare research.


Open Source Body: an interdisciplinary event

Open Source Body is structured to facilitate exchanges between cultural institutions and spaces dedicated to Open Source culture. In 2018, the event took place between La Gaîté Lyrique, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and La Paillasse biolab. In 2021, it will be held between the Cité Internationale des Arts and Volumes Lab / Oasis21.

This year, the event is part of ART4MED.EU, a Creative Europe program of the European Union coordinated by the Makery medialab. In 2021, ART4MED supports artist residencies in biomedical institutions. We have invited our partners— Waag (Nl), Labae (Dk), Kersnikova (Si), Bioart Society (Fi)—to present the current state of development of these residencies.

This year’s event also focuses on the work of Swiss artist Maya Minder, including her recent “Green Open Food Evolution”, a project about “becoming Homo Photosyntheticus”, as well as artistic research on edible seaweed, the human microbiome, and animal-plant symbioses as part of her ArtExplora residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts. Maya Minder will present various activities through a series of collaborations: with Zurich-based BadLab collective, a collective laboratory of interdisciplinary ideas and practices at the intersection of art, science, craft and care; with Swiss filmmaker Sandra Bühler to review scientists’ comments collected during the research phase of her speculative narrative “Green Open Food Evolution”, co-organized by the Roscosmoe initiative led by Ewen Chardronnet and M3 laboratory of the Roscoff Biological Station (CNRS – Sorbonne Universities); with researcher Myra Chavez from the Anatomy Institute in Bern and Hackteria, network for open source biologic art. Jens Hauser (Fr/De/Dk), researcher and exhibition curator, will give a talk about the symbolism of the color green in our contemporary societies and non human microperformativity.

Among other artists in residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Benoit Piéron and Nathalie Harb will invite participants into their soapy decor inside La Petite Galerie, while Annabel Guérédrat will present her bruja work in the context of proliferating sargassum in the West Indies.

Another talk will be followed by a discussion on controversial endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) and toxic environments through an encounter between the artist collective Aliens in Green and the anthropologist Mariana Rios Sandoval (CNRS).

The notion of “radical care” will be discussed from a Latino-American, feminist and post-colonial perspective by curator Natasa Petresin, anthropologist Elimia Sanabria (CNRS – Fr/Co) and artists Paloma Ayala (BadLab Project, Mx), Luiza Prado (Br) and Aniara Rodado (Fr/Co).

The Spanish collective Quimera Rosa will close the two-day symposium at the Cité Internationale des Arts with a presentation of “Trans*Plant: my disease is an artistic creation”.

On May 22, Open Source Body will be at Volumes Lab / Oasis21 for an afternoon of workshops (for registered participants) hosted by Maya Minder and BadLab Project. The day will conclude with a dinner buffet hosted by Foodlab and an audio-visual performance by Slovenian musician Janus A. Luznar based on his own heartbeats.

Open source body: an event by the Makery medialab

Makery.info is an online information media (newsletter, website, social networks) founded by Anne-Cécile Worms in June 2014. It aims to cover the dynamism and give out information on the creative communities and the scene of labs, fablabs (fabrication laboratories, terminology born in the United States within the Medialab of MIT in 2001), makerspaces (for community tinkering), hackerspaces (spaces self-managed by people wanting to divert technologies), medialabs (dedicated to new media experimentation), living labs (also known as third places, they encompass users-industries co-design in processes of innovation and experimentation), biohacklabs (the scientific, DIYbio and bioinformatics version of hacklabs), artlabs (dedicated to artistic production).

The medialab Makery is the space for experimentation of the Makery media. It allows to gather, to give visibility and to publish innovative projects and actions of the media: events, media partnerships, forums, artistic productions, cooperations, trainings and workshops.



Open Source Body is co-funded by the CNC-Dicréam, the Creative Europe program of the European Union & ProHelvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture.