Beyond a shadow of a doubt: Heirloom / AE 16

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One of the most impressive Artwork seen at the Ars Electronica Festival 2016 is – beyond a shadow of a doubtHeirloom by Gina Czarnecki.

Pier Luigi Capucci on Nblog, in his article “Alla fine, l’arte / In the end, art” already presented Heirloom between the festival most valuable works.

A project that can be considered as the state-of-the-art in the field of the bioarts, for the theorerical, ethical, technological approaches and for its innovative traits based on a strong philosophical foundation.

Ars Electronica Heirloom
The Artist Gina Czarnecki interviewed by Roberto Villa, guest-member of the 5wftf and Noemalab Media Staff at the Ars Electronica Festival 2016.

Heirloom, representing a paradigm for any Artwork that uses cutting-edge technologies, gives a clear visual answer to a deep ethical reflection and succeeds in finding the perfect balance between the tools and components available to artists in the contemporary multidisciplinary art landscape.

We met Gina Czarnecki in her exhibition space at the Ars Electronica Festival.
She has a deep consciousness of the ethical implications of her art practice, showing what we call the right attitude for an artist who works with living matter, the attitude that we were really and hardly looking for during the whole festival.
With extreme courteousness she explained the radical concept of Heirloom and her idea to opensource its procedures to make possible for everyone to grow ready-to-use replacement tissues and skin.

That’s the state of the art.
Really, really cool.

Gina the Artist


“The artwork grows living portraits of Gina’s daughters from their own cells that have been cultured from a single sample taken from their mouths in 2014. They grow on delicate glass casts of their faces in the life support system that provides the best conditions for growth, outside the lab.

Heirloom combines innovative new methods and cell nurturing cocktails, in equipment readily available. Over time the cells reach the thickness of tissue paper. They are then preserved, ‘lifted’ and presented as a personalised three-dimensional extra cellular matrix structure.

A scientifically accurate portrait.

Heirloom could lead to new developments in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Perhaps in the future we will regularly add 3D body scans to bio-banks, along with samples of our cells. Then, when needed, 3D structures could be regrown, a kind of transplant from our past bodies. An heirloom that parents might decide to leave for – and from – their children.”

Lab Heirloom

More info about the project:

Read the full reportage on Ars Electronica 2016.

Gina Czarnecki

Gina Czarnecki is a UK based Artist working with a diverse and often unconventional range of media, including installations, sculpture, video, and site specific works.

Website: Gina Czarnecki


Project Team

Gina Czarnecki. Lead Artist

Professor John Hunt. Professor of Clinical Sciences & Musculoskeletal Biology, Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool

Saskia and Lola Czarnecki-Stubbs, my daughters

Subjects and Participants

Polly Moseley. Documentation and Evaluation

Caroline Wilkinson, Director of FaceLab, Liverpool John Moores University

Davy Jones. Davy Jones SFX, Face casting

Jen Barker. Melt Designs, Glass casting

Dave Jones. Glyndowr University, Advisor

Andy Wright. Advisor

Radames Anja, Factlab Liverpool

DOES Liverpool

James Nixon. 3D Scan to Print prep

Medical Museum Copenhagen

Emma Boutet. Assistant

Dan Farrimond. Web

ThE project has only been possible with the support and funding of The Arts Council England (North) and Exhibition development funded by Trust Me I’m an Artist.

FiveWordsForTheFuture - Nov 12, 2016 | Ars Electronica 2016, Art, Biotechnologies, Sciences, Skin