Hybrid Art

2.6g 329m/s

Price: Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

Jalila Essaïdi (NL)

http://jalilaessaidi.com/2-6g-329ms/, http://jalilaessaidi.com/, jalilaessaidi.com

Cyberarts 2012 - International Compendium Prix Ars Electronica 2012

The name of this project, 2.6g 329m/s, refers to the performance standard for bulletproof vests: exploring boundaries, by piercing barriers. 2.6g 329m/s are the maximum weight and velocity of a .22-calibre rifle bullet from which a Type 1 bulletproof vest should protect you.

Spider-silk thread is relatively much stronger than steel and can even be made by a living being. Woven, it would be capable of resisting the impact of a bullet, much like a bee hitting a spider’s web. If human skin could produce this thread, would we be protected from bullets? Jalila Essaïdi takes the acid test: by implanting transgenic spider silk in human skin and letting a bullet do its work.

By using a bulletproof matrix of spider silk produced by transgenic goats in human skin, Essaïdi wants to explore the social, political, ethical and cultural issues surrounding safety in a world with access to new biotechnologies—issues that arise from the ancient human desire for invulnerability. It is legend that all of Achilles’ body was invulnerable except his heel. Will we in the near future, due to biotechnology, no longer need to descend from a divine bloodline in order to posses traits like invulnerability?

With this work Essaïdi wants to show that safety in its broadest sense is a relative concept, hence the term bulletproof. The work did stop some partly slowed bullets but not one at full speed. But even with the skin pierced by the bullet, the experiment is still a success. It leads to conversations about aesthetics and ethics, usefulness and necessity, and about which form of safety would benefit society.