The Performative Biofact


Since the 20th century the relationship between ecology and the arts has become increasingly crucial to various concepts of performativity. From this relationship training- and working systems developed, like biomechanics, somatic dance techniques or psychological realistic acting methods (Giannachi and Steward 2005). As the life sciences have fundamentally changed what is understood by the terms nature and ecology, however, this relationship is to be rethought throughout this project and practically researched, because the Aristotelian demarcatio between nature and technology as a separation between what grows and what does not is no longer valid as the Philosopher and Biologist Nicole C. Karafyllis explains. She further states that as a result of the methods of agri-technology and biotechnology such as genetic engineering or cloning, life forms can to a great extent also be artificial or technological.


The canon of ideas of new materialism, and in particular the theories of the scientist Karen Barad, who questions the dichotomy between ontology and epistemology, open up new perspectives on the relationship between material and performativity, which have previously only been partially taken into account in the field of performative practice.


With the design of an experimental process and the provocative production of a semi-artificial, semi-natural being and the equal treatment of apperatuses, humans and non-humans we question the history that the performative production of material goes back to and how its alteration through technological renewal will in future change our understanding of ecology and art


Thereby we seek to avoid a sole anthropocentric core area in the experimental setting and foster new creative solutions. We will be challenged to circumvent an anthropomorphization of the animal, but instead to liberate it from its passive position of being the exploited „other“. The set-up to be developed together with the co-researchers in this project is intended to unite transdisciplinary methods of archeology, performance, molecular biology and genetics. Through the concept of performative creation of a Biofact in a model set-up new scope for action and perception raise and offer opportunities to continue the research on the relation between ecology and the arts, which is constantly in flux.

Published texts on this project:

Klaus Spiess& Lucie Strecker, "In/valuable Hare's Blood", Performance Research a Journal of the Perfoeming Arts, Volume 2, Issue 22.2.

Klaus Spiess & Lucie Strecker, "Transmaterial Becomings", Performance Reserach a Journal of the Performing Arts, Volume 21, Issue 5


The Performative Biofact is conducted in cooperation with:

Daniel Aschwanden (CH), performance artist, Alexander Bailey (UK), performance artist, Jens Hauser (DE), University of Copenhagen, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies & Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences - Medical Museion, Kira Kirsch (DE), Brut Künstlerhaus Vienna, Kroot Jurak (EE), performance artist, Martin Murer (AT), Center for Human - Computer Interaction, University SalzburgRisa Puleo (US), Curator, Bemis Center for Contemprorary Art, Omaha, Nebraska, Mark Rinnerthaler (AT), University Salzburg, Cellbiology and Genetics, Markus Schmidt (AT), BIOFACTION KG, Vienna, Klaus Spiess (AT), Vienna Medical University, Institut for medical Psychology, Center for Public Health, Paul Vanouse (US), Department of Art, Coalesce Center for Biological Art, University at Buffalo, Victoria Vesna (US), Art/Sci Center, University of California, Los Angeles, Ann Liv Young (US), performance artist 

Funded by: Elise-Richter-Peek, FWF Austria