Trust Me, I’m an Artist

Anna Dumitriu

01 Jan
2020
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“Trust Me, I’m an Artist” (2011 – 2017) was a major project led by Anna Dumitriu in collaboration with Bobbie Farsides (Professor of Clinical Ethics at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and Lucas Evers at Waag Society which investigates the ethical issues arising from artists working in laboratory settings. The project considers how artists and cultural institutions can best engage with biotechnology and biomedicine in order to drive innovation in artistic production, ways of presenting artworks, and developing new audiences. It took place over two programmes, initially “Trust Me, I’m an Artist: Towards an Ethics of Art and Science Collaboration” (2011 – 2012) and then “Trust Me, I’m an Artist: Developing Ethical Frameworks for Artists, Cultural Institutions and Audiences Engaged in the Challenges of Creating and Experiencing New Art Forms in Biotechnology and Biomedicine in Europe” (2015 – 2017).

Artists tend to work at the forefront of innovation and push boundaries, whilst engaging in ethical and philosophical challenges that resonate through society around new technologies, and this project has the potential to situate them at the forefront of the latest research. Our high impact outputs will prompt new ways of thinking about how art, biotechnology and biomedicine can intersect, and bring together diverse stakeholders and audiences to create new ways of working at the cutting edge of art, science and technology.

The project involved a series of practical and discussion-based participatory workshop activities; a major series of performative events (before a live audiences) where a specially selected artist proposed an ethically complex artwork to a specially formed ethics committee (following the rules and procedures typical for the host country), the ethics committee then debated the proposal and came to a decision, the artist was then informed of the ethics committee’s decision and, alongside the audience, they entered into a discussion about the result.

The project resulted in a book, symposium, an exhibition, a series of publications in the Leonardo Journal of Art and Science, a series of podcasts, a website, and a DIY Trust Me, I’m an Artist Toolkit designed to give others the opportunity to stimulate dialogue by creating their own DIY Trust Me, I’m an Artist events, leaving a strong legacy from the project.

Trust Me, I’m an Artist: Developing Ethical Frameworks for Artists, Cultural Institutions and Audiences Engaged in the Challenges of Creating and Experiencing New Art Forms in Biotechnology and Biomedicine in Europe. The project was funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. It was led by artist Anna Dumitriu with Professor Bobbie Farsides as lead ethicist, and Waag Society, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, The Arts Catalyst, Kapelica Gallery, Medical Museion, and Leonardo Olats, the lead ethicist is Professor Bobbie Farsides.

Book

“Trust Me, I’m an Artist” book with cover image by Neal White

The book of the project “Trust Me I’m an Artist: Towards an Ethics of Art and Science Collaboration” by Anna Dumitriu and Bobbie Farsides (cover image: Neal White) is available now. The book investigates novel ethical issues arising through art and science collaboration and considers the roles and responsibilities of the artists, scientists and institutions involved. The book features projects by Adam Zaretsky, Neal White, Anna Dumitriu and Art Orienté objet and essays by Ellen Ter Gast, David Koepsell, Nicola Triscott and Rob Zwijnenberg.  Buy the hardback or paperback on Amazon.com, or the hardback or paperback on Blurb, or the e-book on Blurb or in the Apple iBooks store immediately for just £7.99 via the hyperlinks.

“Trust Me, I’m an Artist” Exhibition

“Trust Me, I’m an Artist” exhibition

A group exhibition of “Trust Me, I’m an Artist” featured nine artists whose artworks involve gene editing, human tissue culture, the commons of nuclear materials, trans-species communications, the smuggling of biomaterials across continents and the relation between rituals of self healing and personalised medicine. It took place at Zone2Source, Amsterdam from 13 May – 25 June 2017. The exhibition showed the artworks that were the result of a series of performative events that took place between 2015 – 2017. The artists and collaborators are Martin O’Brien (GB), Gina Czarnecki (GB) & John Hunt (GB), Anna Dumitriu (GB), Špela Petrič (SLO), Jennifer Willet (CAN) & Kira O’Reilly (GB/FIN) and Howard Boland (GB), Erich Berger (AT/FIN) & Mari Keto (FIN). The artworks are in part commissioned by the projects Trust me, I’m an artist, except for those of Erich Berger & Mari Keto and Howard Boland. The exhibition is curated by Anna Dumitriu and Lucas Evers and the project partners Nicola Triscott, Louise Emma Whiteley, Jurij Krpan. The exhibition was opened by Professor Roger Malina.

Media coverage and Publications about of “Trust Me, I’m an Artist”

Anna Dumitriu “Confronting the Bacterial Sublime”

Anna Dumitriu discussed the project on Dutch National Radio 1, listen here.

Clara Rodríguez Fernández wrote an article “Trust me, I’m an Artist” Explores the Ethics of Biotech in Amsterdam” about the exhibition and featured “Controlled Commodity” on for Labiotech.eu, in May 2017.

Review of the “Trust Me, I’m an Artist” exhibition at Zone2Source in Amsterdam by Nora Vaage, featuring “Controlled Commodity” on Furtherfield.org, May 2017.

Regine Debatty reviewed the exhibition for “We Make Money Not Art“, June 2017.

Review of the “Trust Me, I’m an Artist” exhibition at Zone2Source in Amsterdam by Julia Buntaine,  featuring “Controlled Commodity” on SciArt Magazine Blog, July 2017.

Article by Anna Dumitriu “Trust Me, I’m an Artist: Building Opportunities for Art & Science Collaboration through an Understanding of Ethics” for Leonardo Journal, published on just accepted page, hosted by MIT Press doi: 10.1162/LEON_a_01481, (USA), on 20 June 2017.