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"On Redrawing the Limits of Imagination"

The performative lecture involves intermingling bacterial bodies, capital, indeterminacy
and synthetic biology in one complex bio-technical assemblage. Synthetic
biology claims to be able to create life from scratch. Such a claim immediately challenges
the established notions between “natural” and “artificial”, between given
and man-made. By opening up the possibility of designing nature, this new type of
biology not only fires the imaginations (and also reveals their limitations) of artists,
designers, philosophers and even theologists, but also poses a question – how to
make this additional human penetration in the environment less anthropocentric?
Perhaps it could be done by decoupling synthetic biology and the Promethean
project of capitalism? Theorist Luciana Parisi offers us a tool for dismantling this
relationship – indeterminacy. Indeterminacy, unpredictability, contingency are the
features of matter that synthetic biology embraces and that escape the computational
rational logic of capital. Indeterminacy also points us back to the imagination:
are we ready to design the given?
Pakui Hardware is a name given to a collaboration between Ugnius Gelguda and
Neringa Černiauskaitė set up in 2014. The artists are based between Vilnius and
Berlin. The duo‘s work spans the relationship between materiality, technology and
economy, particularly on how technology is shaping the current economy and physical
reality itself, including the human body. Their recent exhibitions include Low
Form, MAXXI, Rome; The Return of Sweetness, Tenderpixel (solo), London; Solar
Bodies, Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Give up the Ghost, 13th Baltic Triennial, Contemporary
Art Centre, Vilnius; Somewhere in between, Bozar, Brussels; Vanilla Eyes,
mumok (solo), Vienna, and Ungestalt, Kunsthalle Basel. Upcoming institutional
exhibitions include Bielefelder Kunstverein (solo), Bielefeld, Germany; Museum
der bildenden Künste (solo), Leipzig, Germany and Center for Contemporary Art
Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw.