Moscow—Berlin

Fai­led Orga­nisms ope­ned at the Labo­ra­to­ria Art & Sci­ence Space in Moscow. In addi­ti­on to my works on fai­led orga­nisms I pre­sen­ted my pro­ject Refe­ren­dum: For legal per­mis­si­on to pro­crea­te off­spring of humans and pri­ma­tes with a view to estab­li­shing a repro­duc­ti­ve collec­ti­ve. A few days later I gave a public lec­tu­re at the exhi­bi­ti­on, and after­wards, a man who was about 60 years old came to see me. The public rela­ti­ons direc­tor of Labo­ra­to­ria, Olga Sofron­chik, trans­la­ted our con­ver­sa­ti­on. At the very begin­ning the man han­ded me a fol­der in A4 for­mat and said it came from his grand­f­a­ther, who was a doc­tor of Ger­man ori­gin. When he got older, he said, his grand­f­a­ther had had stran­ge ide­as about auto­no­mous, mound-shaped human body parts and had tried to exp­lain them to his grand­son. He had writ­ten down the­se visi­ons and given them to his grand­son short­ly befo­re he died with the request that they be publis­hed. Howe­ver, as his grandfather’s drawings were not very detail­ed and the notes dif­fi­cult to read as well as being in Ger­man, he had so far not found anyo­ne who knew what to do with the mate­ri­al. He said he had come to the ope­ning of my exhi­bi­ti­on at the Labo­ra­to­ria Art & Sci­ence Space in the hope that I was someo­ne who could take it over. After lis­tening to my lec­tu­re and the dis­cus­sion after­wards, he said that he was sure I would be inte­res­ted in the lega­cy that had been ent­rus­ted to him, and he appealed to me to take the fol­der and release him from the burden.
moskau_01moskau_02moskau_03moskau_04

The drawings and texts appe­ar to date from the 1950s to 1970s. The Ger­man-Rus­si­an doc­tor had set down his ide­as in frag­men­ta­ry notes, quo­ta­ti­ons from sci­en­ti­fic publi­ca­ti­ons, and sket­ches in pen­cil. The small bund­le of papers con­veys a patchy impres­si­on of an uncon­ven­tio­nal image of the human. The­re are five pages of frag­men­ta­ry texts and cita­ti­ons, which are like sin­gle bricks for a buil­ding that is not clear­ly defi­ned. I have tran­scri­bed the hand­writ­ten notes. The drawings, which are all on bluish, rough paper, I used as a basis for the sculp­tu­red models.

Here are some of the cita­ti­ons and pas­sa­ges from sci­ence and other publications:

The epoch of con­scious con­trol of life on Earth.
N. P. Dubi­nin, Rus­si­an geneticist.

Only if one starts from the basic cha­rac­te­ris­tic of our epoch, the tran­si­ti­on of human­kind from capi­ta­lism to socia­lism, can the signi­fi­can­ce of bio­lo­gy for the future of human­kind be dis­cus­sed in its cor­rect con­text. — R. Löther, phi­lo­so­pher of science.

Life is a high­ly sta­ble sta­te of mat­ter that, to gene­ra­te sur­vi­val respon­ses, uti­li­ses infor­ma­ti­on that is encoded by the sta­tes of the indi­vi­du­al mole­cu­les. — A. A. Lya­pu­n­ov, Sowjet­wis­sen­schaft, Gesell­schafts­wis­sen­schaft­li­che Bei­trä­ge 6 1970.

Life, the mode of exis­tence of an albu­min­ous body, the­re­fo­re con­sists pri­ma­ri­ly in the fact that every moment it is its­elf and at the same time some­thing else; and this does not take place as the result of a pro­cess to which it is sub­jec­ted from without, as is the way in which this can occur also in the case of inani­ma­te bodies. On the con­tra­ry, life, the meta­bo­lism which takes place through nut­ri­ti­on and excre­ti­on, is a self-imple­men­ting pro­cess which is inherent in, nati­ve to, its bea­rer, albu­men, without which the lat­ter can­not exist. — F. Engels, Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revo­lu­ti­on in Sci­ence, more com­mon­ly known as Engels’ Anti-Düh­ring, online

The pro­gres­si­on of the evo­lu­ti­on of life results from inner neces­si­ty, the con­cre­te expres­si­on of which is the con­flic­tu­al cha­rac­ter of the per­pe­tual­ly trans­forming bio­tic rela­ti­ons. — J. M. Ole­nov, Eini­ge Pro­ble­me der evo­lu­tio­nä­ren Gene­tik und des Dar­wi­nis­mus, Moscow and Lenin­grad 1961 (in Rus­si­an), p. 148.

Some still clea­ve to the futi­le hope that all chan­ges, which are obser­ved in an orga­nism during an expe­ri­ment, are chan­ges wit­hin a spe­ci­es. Rapha­no­bras­si­ca (a com­ple­te­ly new plant crea­ted through arti­fi­cial polyplo­idi­sa­ti­on of two dif­fe­rent gene­ra to crea­te a fer­ti­le tetra­plo­id hybrid by G.D. Kar­pe­chen­ko 1928 — author’s note) is a new, hither­to unknown orga­nism; name­ly, Rapha­no­bras­si­ca. — T. Dobzhan­sky, Evo­lu­ti­on – Gene­tics – and Man, 1957.

The tem­pes­tuous deve­lo­p­ment of sci­ence and tech­no­lo­gy ren­ders the age-old pro­blem of the rela­ti­ons­hip bet­ween humans and natu­re par­ti­cu­lar­ly rele­vant today. The first socia­lists were alrea­dy of the opi­ni­on that an important cha­rac­te­ris­tic of the socie­ty of the future will be the con­ver­gence of humans with natu­re. — L. I. Brezhnev, 50 Jah­re gro­ßer Sie­ge des Sozia­lis­mus, Ber­lin 1967, p. 33.

The Hydra of anci­ent sagas was a beast that was pro­bab­ly inven­ted after the image of the octo­pus, the polyp, or squid, ani­mals that today zoo­lo­gists clas­si­fy as being at the top of the phylum of mol­luscs, that is, rela­tively high­ly deve­lo­ped ani­mals. Her­cu­les, howe­ver, fought with a beast that was neit­her ani­mal nor plant. Only some­thing that was ali­ve. Without a head or extre­mi­ties, without a dis­tinct form. Not gigan­tic like the Hydra of sagas in the sen­se of a sin­gu­lar, gigan­tic ani­mal body. But gigan­tic in ano­t­her sen­se, that extends bey­ond the Hydra. when one of its heads was cut off, the Hydra grew two others. The mons­ter that I am refer­ring to tears the war­ri­or apart through a kind of repro­duc­ti­ve act wher­eby bil­li­ons of new beasts appe­ar bene­ath his hands. — Wil­helm Böl­sche, Vom Bazil­lus zum Affen­men­schen, Jena 1921, p. 3.

Lo, he goe­th by me, and I see him not: he pas­seth on also, but I per­cei­ve him not. — Job, 9:11, quo­ta­ti­on that J. W. von Goe­the pla­ced at the begin­ning of his Mor­pho­lo­gie.

The indi­vi­du­al should by no means be unders­tood as some­thing sta­tic, but as pha­sic. An indi­vi­du­al as a tota­li­ty is sim­ply the cycle of the indi­vi­du­al. — J. W. Harms, Indi­vi­du­al­zy­klen als Grund­la­ge für die Erfor­schung des bio­lo­gi­schen Gesche­hens, Ber­lin 1924, p. 3.

Pro­me­theus saw that all other ani­mals had been wise­ly pro­vi­ded for; humans, howe­ver, were naked, unshod, unco­ve­r­ed, and without wea­pons, so he sto­le the inge­nious wis­dom of Hepha­es­tus and Athena as well as fire, and gave them to human­kind (accord­ing to Prot­ago­ras and Pla­to — author’s note). How would it be if human­kind were relie­ved of their bur­den and, without cul­tu­re and tech­no­lo­gy, could lead a vege­ta­ti­ve and ani­mal existence?

As if thousands of weak-bodi­ed and infirm poets, sci­en­tists, inven­tors, and refor­mers, tog­e­ther with other thousands of so-cal­led »fools« and »weak-min­ded enthu­si­asts«, were not the most pre­cious wea­pons used by huma­ni­ty in its strugg­le for exis­tence by intel­lec­tu­al and moral arms, which Dar­win hims­elf empha­sis­ed in tho­se same chap­ters of Descent of Man. — P. Kro­pot­kin, Mutu­al Aid: A Fac­tor of Evo­lu­ti­on, 1902.

Some tran­scrip­ti­ons of his hand-writ­ten notes:

the parts lying under­ne­ath con­tain much blood, the upper parts con­tain litt­le blood / firm, mesh-like con­nec­ti­ve tis­sue holds the form tog­e­ther / the skin beco­mes pale in tho­se pla­ces whe­re the weight of the body rests on it / mucous mem­bra­ne inter­fu­sed with mus­cle tis­sue tur­ned insi­de out / the skin is dis­co­lou­red gree­nish by bac­te­ria. Sul­fha­emo­glo­bin is pro­du­ced / organs suf­fu­sed with gas bub­bles / epi­the­li­al tis­sue covers the outer sur­faces of the body / inor­ga­nic con­sti­tu­ents are stored in body tis­sue / for­ma­ti­on of pres­su­re pads of fat­ty tis­sue on the under­si­de / lym­pho­id organs / loss of car­ti­la­ge as well as intra­mem­bra­nous bone for­ma­ti­ons / for­ma­ti­on as a cur­ved tube / deve­lo­ped as vil­li / a mesen­te­ry / the ori­gins of sack bein­gs / evo­lu­tio­na­ry chan­ges / par­ti­al humans / human sacks / taxo­no­mic group: Homo tube­ro (swel­ling human) / evo­lu­tio­na­ry sta­ge: from Homo erec­tus to vege­ta­ti­ve pri­ma­te / a result of the pro­cess of redu­cing to basic meta­bo­lic phy­sio­lo­gi­cal acti­vi­ty / the decisi­ve tur­ning point in anthro­po­ge­ne­sis with the sin­gu­lar deve­lo­p­ment of the human ima­go / con­stant advan­ce of plas­ma bein­gs / re-orga­ni­sa­ti­on of the living human / knowing about the plas­mic form of being, howe­ver, leads to a new aspect of the organ as orga­nism / the plas­mic mode of being does not per­sist merely in the simp­le exis­tence of a sli­my amoe­ba or as a dis­cre­te plas­ma enti­ty. Under cer­tain con­di­ti­ons the plas­ma with its core organs pushes for­ward to a new form of being, it per­forms this with an inner power and vehe­mence: the nuclei form shapes in a hig­her dimen­si­on. In an order that ari­ses in various sta­ges / that the second front of medi­ci­ne … the form and its deve­lo­p­ment / a new mor­pho­lo­gy is beco­m­ing visi­ble today, which also sets up a new hier­ar­chy of cha­rac­te­ris­tics of life / the clas­si­fi­ca­ti­on of plas­mic pre­dis­po­si­ti­on and matu­re form achie­ved … / juve­ni­le sta­ges / to review the deve­lo­p­men­tal steps, which for examp­le allow a heart to deve­lop from the pre­dis­po­si­ti­on for a heart / descrip­ti­on of the gene­sis of a body / the desti­ny of humans is open and they are capa­ble of many pos­si­bi­li­ties / a spe­cial case of anthro­po­ge­ne­sis / to sepa­ra­te out from a who­le that stret­ches into infi­ni­ty / to con­cen­tra­te our rese­arch inte­rest on some spe­ci­fic cir­cum­s­tance of humans / in this way a pre­vai­ling mood of the work comes into focus. From it grows the strength to crea­te a new, to co-design / co-form the human, which appears to us to be a cen­tral intel­lec­tu­al task of the pre­sent / this appar­ent­ly so simp­le, semi-trans­pa­rent … / in opti­cal emp­ti­ness (micro­scopic) / a real neo­for­ma­ti­on / very devia­ting vari­ants / also the pos­si­bi­li­ty of initia­ting such new forms … with which com­ple­te­ly new designs ari­se / in bold forays to advan­ce bey­ond what can be obser­ved into what has not yet been seen / the abi­li­ty to gene­ra­te simp­lest life forms / the idea of plas­ma that com­pli­ca­tes its­elf / uncon­scious life (ins­tead of con­scious life) inter­play of fol­ding and unfol­ding / empha­sis on the inner organs — pre­dis­po­si­ti­ons for novel organs / con­trac­tions (mus­cu­lar con­trac­tions), neural exci­ta­ti­on, sen­so­ry abi­li­ties, glandular func­tion, sexu­al appearan­ce, events / the princi­pal ana­to­mi­c­al deve­lo­p­men­tal ten­den­ci­es, which are reco­gnis­able, affect the reduc­tion of the head and the extre­mi­ties and thus the asso­cia­ted loss of bipe­dal or qua­dru­pedal loco­mo­ti­on and the sur­ren­der of manu­al abi­li­ties. … fur­ther, a regres­si­on of the brain … the leap from the ver­te­brae to the inver­te­bra­tes / among the chan­ges that the impor­t­ance of bio­lo­gi­cal rese­arch has wrought in thin­king in gene­ral and that also serious­ly influ­ence the con­cept of a human, the deva­lua­ti­on of con­scious­ness is not the smal­lest / … to estab­lish empha­ti­cal­ly the insight that the extent of con­scious expe­ri­ence in the spa­ti­al and tem­po­ral ran­ge of earth­ly full­ness of life is negli­gi­ble, almost like a dot, that this con­scious­ness only occurs like exi­les on tiny islands in an oce­an of life which works and toils uncon­scious­ly / insights in the com­plex con­trol of all life pro­ces­ses, which are per­for­med by the dis­con­cer­ting, for humans incom­pre­hen­si­ble power of plas­ma / the power­ful wave action of vege­ta­ti­ve exis­tence / life on the way to its­elf / a form of inter­me­dia­te life / body parts that assert their inde­pen­dence / that which came tog­e­ther to form a human being, now goes its sepa­ra­te ways / … Humans, in the way that they are, cau­se too much harm and the … / and see how other ways are pos­si­ble. / Sub­s­tance and acci­dent (idea of some­thing). It is or it is not, ter­ti­um non datum. all the dua­lisms. But here some­thing bet­ween disem­bed­ded inte­rior and exte­rior. / What habi­tat do the­se sack-crea­tures need? Nut­ri­ent solu­ti­on, soup, oce­an, air? / Oneness of inor­ga­nic and living natu­re / indi­vi­du­al deve­lo­p­ment and rege­ne­ra­ti­on / living, self-sus­tai­ning sys­tems on a human basis / the indi­vi­du­al human-like clus­ters are com­bi­ned in an orga­no-coe­no­sis / death is the tem­po­ral end of an indi­vi­du­al. In humans, death is the trans­for­ma­ti­on into a corp­se / natu­ral death is by its­elf through divi­si­on of pro­pa­ga­ting pro­to­zoa iden­ti­cal to repro­duc­tion and the­re­fo­re death without a corp­se. This unity of death and repro­duc­tion should also be made pos­si­ble for humans. 

exhi­bi­ti­on: jen­seits des men­schen / bey­ond humans
book: jen­seits des men­schen / bey­ond humans

Fai­led Orga­nisms exhi­bi­ti­on from 26.11.2009 to 24.1.2010 at the
Labo­ra­to­ria Art & Sci­ence Space
Direc­tor Daria Parkhomenko
3 Per. Obukha, 730 0167, m. Chkalovskaya
www.newlaboratoria.ru

Kar­pov Insti­tu­te of Phy­si­cal Che­mi­stry Moscow 105064
Физико-химический научно-исследовательский Институт им. Л.Я. Карпова‎ Rus­sia, 105064, г. Москва, ул. Воронцово Поле, 10