The Golem: A giant, semi-living Golem in the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Ionat Zurr, Oron Catts, Abi Aspen Glencross, Michael Sulu, Brenda Parker

Research output: Other contribution

Abstract

Deep in the woods of a London forest, in the burial place of 380,000 people, next to a colony of urban beehives, the world’s leading biological artists are collaborating with Shuffle, biochemical and tissue engineers to build a life-­‐size golem, fashioned from mud and clay and studded with living cells grown in London’s scientific laboratories.

Inspired by the folklore of the Golem, the sculpture will be built by artists and scientists as a live performance over the course of a day, and marry old and new techniques of caring for and controlling life to look at the festival’s theme of Gods and Idols, and the seduction and dangers of artificial human-­made life.

The torso of the Golem will house a 3,000-­year-­old technology: a compost of rotting material and rich burial soil, generating heat and turning the six-­‐foot-­‐tall statue into a rudimentary incubator. This inanimate body will then be used to keep alive the product of a very modern technology: miniature 3D printed golem-­‐shaped biomaterials, seeded with living cells at the laboratories of biochemists and tissue engineering scientists, and then transferred and embedded in the head of the sculpture in the cemetery.

The Golem will then stand all night, lit and heated and powered as the 24-­hour Shuffle Festival continues around it. In the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, a place of continuum between life and death, the six-­foot tall Golem becomes a semi-living being.


Original languageEnglish
TypeThe Golem
Media of outputArtwork
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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