Liminal Lives: Life in the Age of Permanent Bio-transgression

Attractors: Maciej Ozog & Ryszard W. Kluszczynski

Development of life sciences and biotechnology entails the need for rethinking and redefining of several categories that till recently have seemed easily comprehensible, stable and obvious. In our proposal we want to focus on re-configurations of the category of life itself. Term liminal lives, taken from the book of Susan Merrill Squier, emphasizes openness, fluidity and instability of this category, and also its ambiguity. Liminal lives are boundary beings whose ontological status is not clear and is subject to continuous transgressions; they exceed and challenge dichotomies: organic – artificial, autonomous – dependent, human – non-human, living – inanimate, coherent – hybrid. Their existence, though often unnoticed outside the context of the laboratory, has a real impact on how we understand ourselves, and the world around us. Art has a particular significance and plays an important role in the public debate on the challenges arising from the existence of liminal forms of life. On the one hand, art can be regarded as cultural translation of procedures and scientific discourse, on the other provides critical analysis of cultural, social and political consequences of techno-scientific achievements. In our proposal, we would like to present and analyze various examples of the latter attitude within bioart.

Methodology: Goal of the project is to select a research group consisting of theorists and artists whose research and artistic practices allow for a multidimensional analysis of the very phenomenon of liminal lives as well as the socio-cultural context and consequences of the development of this branch of modern biology. This group would be selected in the “call for papers”. Work of the group would consist in the preparation of individual papers, but also we would like to initiate a platform for creative discussion and presentation of opinions and actions, pointing especially to the transgressive dimension of the liminal lives issue.


Ryszard W. Kluszczynski, PhD, new media art scholar, writer and curator. Professor of media and cultural studies, Lodz University, Poland, Head of Department of Media and Audiovisual Culture. He publishes widely about media and multimedia arts, cyberculture, and on the contemporary art theory. In the years 1990-2001 Kluszczynski was a Chief Curator of film, video and multimedia arts at the Centre for Contemporary Art – Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw. Curator of International Biennale of Contemporary Art ‘Mediations’ in Poznan 2010. Artistic Director of Art & Science Meeting Project, CCA Gdansk 2011-2016.

Maciej Ozog, PhD, media theorist, researcher and musician. He works at the Electronic Media Department, Lodz University. His research focuses on history and theory of media arts, panoptic / postoptic surveillance culture, information society and posthumanism. He has published many articles on aesthetics of interactive art, history and theory of avant-garde film and video art, and experimental music. His book “Surveillance as Theme and Method of New Media Art” will be published in 2012.

(Semi-Living Steak by The Tissue Culture and Art Project)