Provocative Futures: Speculation, Human body, and Medical science - Paul Gong & Kuang-Yi Ku Double Solo Exhibition
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Provocative Futures: Speculation, Human body, and Medical science - Paul Gong & Kuang-Yi Ku Double Solo Exhibition

Session Information

Number of Sessions
Provocative Futures: Speculation, Human body, and Medical science - Paul Gong & Kuang-Yi Ku Double Solo Exhibition
日曆圖案 2020/10/10 10:00 ~ 2020/12/06 18:00

Event Details

Curatorial Discourse

In recent years, medicine has been influenced by the development of cutting-edge biotechnology; medical technologies have gone through revolutionary breakthroughs and changes. Such technological transformation implies that humans are very likely to find possible solutions to confront various crises brought by diseases. However, medical knowledge and technologies take over the power to define a healthy and normal body in contemporary society. Therefore, when the original medical systems were affected by emerging biotechnologies, the definition and norm of the human body were loosened. Such transformation also began to create social and ethical controversies and debates at the cultural level. Controversial research on medical technologies may even be forced to halt its progression under the pressure of public discussion and opinion. Such a social phenomenon forms a cycle of mutual influences of “Medical Technology” and “Social Culture.” The cycle seems to be a rolling wheeling of the times, drawing definitions of human body to evolve toward different directions.

 

“Provocative Futures: Speculation, Human Body, and Medical science” is curated by artists Paul Gong and Kuang-Yi Ku. All their exhibited works focus on changes and transformation of the human body and the social environment made by the influence of medical technologies. The two artists portray the complicated relationships among medical, the human body, and the culture in their works through their observation toward contemporary society, collaborations with scientists, and their artistic practices. The two artists also pay special attention to the "future" referred by the intertwined medical technologies and social culture. By describing the future world's diverse appearance, the artists lead the viewers to peek into every evolving direction co-directed by "medical technologies" and "social culture." The artists attempt to guide the audience to observe future directions implied by these works and, through the controversies provokes by these works, to stimulate the audience's reflection on the ethical debates and social issues behind the works.

 

As the prelude to the exhibition, The Appendix Human by Paul Gong inquires whether vestigial organs may obtain different functions at different times due to different medical knowledge. However, why do non-functional organs exist in the human body? Is it possible that non-functional organs will be available for other uses as medical technologies develop in the future? This work creates a series of inquiries on human organs. Following questions of previous work, Being, and Organs, a collaboration between Paul Gong and RAW Moves, a Singaporean contemporary experimental dance company, rethinks the human organs reversely against the Appendix Human, especially in the light of the rapid development of artificial organs and transplantation technology. This work attempts to explore if a transplanted body can maintain the original humanity after receiving an artificial organ. Two works by Gong explore definitions of the human body and the questions of the nature of being under the influence of medical technology.

 

The second part of the exhibition shifts its focus from an "internal" exploration to an "external" research. Delayed Youth by Kuang-Yi Ku proposed a scenario where medical technology has been applied as a tool to discipline the human body by the political force. In this dystopian scenario, the government uses medical technology to delay the youth's sexual organs' maturation to preserve their purity. Medical technology has become a tool to control the human body and change the landscape of human society. In Ku's Millennium Ginseng Project, he attempts to combine plant ecology and physiology, space technology, and Chinese Medicine to cultivate artificially propagated ginseng with stronger therapeutic effects. The artificial ginseng can also replace and secure the endangered wild ginseng, which has long been illegally harvested. This work yet pushed the boundary even further, expanding the medical issues to a broader Chinese medical culture. Ku moves beyond the framework of Western medicine as mainstream medicine, while at the same time, suggests a strategy for how humans and other species can coexist in the future.

 

In this exhibition, Paul Gong inwards explores the influence of medicine on the human body and inquires deeper questions about the human body's nature and essence. While Kuang-Yi Ku, from the opposite direction, investigates the impact of medical technology on human society and the natural environment. This exhibition tries to present a new form of art-making by exploring and investigating different levels, guiding the audience to explore future human society affected by medical technology. Selected books are displayed at the exhibition venue to provide background knowledge of this artistic practice. The book selection covers publications and essays from home and abroad on Science Art, Art& Science, Bio Art, and Speculative Design. The audience is encouraged to learn about related fields and the methodology and historical background behind the works after viewing the exhibited works.

 

▍Curators & Artists

宮保睿 Paul Gong

顧廣毅 Kuang-Yi Ku

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