The exhibition project Paired Immunity presents two works by bio artist Marta de Menezes and her partner, the immunologist Luís Graça.
In Immortality for Two Marta de Menezes and Luís Graça immortalize each other’s immune cells. This is achieved by introducing cancer-inducing genes in the cells with a viral vector. These immortal cells, although derived from two people in love, are immune cells involved the bodily defense. If they interact, they will be mutually rejected. Thus, immortality comes at a price – perpetual isolation. The live cells will be exhibited in the absence of any visible lab equipment, and the tension created by their isolation will be emphasized through two live projections of the growing cells that partially overlap. Only in the virtual space of the projection can the cells interact.
The immune system can be seen as a sixth sense that identifies and discriminates our composition and the outside world. The work Anti-Marta extends on Immortality for Two, where the artist and scientist questioned the limits and understanding of their identity. In Anti-Marta a skin transplant was exchanged between Marta and Luís (with an autologous graft as control). Anti-Marta can be seen as a pact, where the inevitable rejection of the transplant contrasts with the live-long acquisition of a new form of recognition of one another afforded by the emergence of antibodies.
Art Laboratory Berlin
Marta de Menezes & Luís Graça
October 30 – December 12, 2021