c-lab:intro and the cactus

my initial discovery and great inspiration in the field was c-lab based in the UK:

C-LAB is an arts collective and a small organisation that engages with critical and contemporary amalgamations of art and science.

Headed up by London-based artists, Howard Boland and Laura Cinti, it focuses on artistic explorations of meaning and idiosyncrasies involving life both organic and synthetic.


One of their early projects presented the audience with the genetically modified Cactus that grew human hair on its surface. Therefore the experiment not only addressed the possibility of such modification being possible but also the philosophical issues of what is human and what belongs to the realm of flora, where the border between these two lies.

THE CACTUS PROJECT entailed the use of the agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer introducing keratin genes into cells of cacti. The transformed cells were used to regenerate engineered transgenic cacti. The aim of the experiment was having the keratins expressed in cactus cells morphologically similar to hair and for the cactus to produce it externally.

source c-lab web-site





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