The Role of Images and Aesthetic Experience in Bio Art

Eduardo Kac in conversation with Toni Hildebrandt
Paris, 14 June 2011

T.H.: Eduardo, you started as an artist in the 1980s with visual poetry and a manifold body of work, which was closely connected to body politics. The 80s revealed the importance of mass media, new image politics and many different techniques of visualization, especially in the field of the fine arts and visual communication. Can you explain how your working process changed and developed from the early 80s onward into the postdigital paradigm of our time? I would also like to address a question that is of particular concern to the NCCR eikones: How does the digital revolution in an almost completely image-based society create special forms of power and meaning? Of course, the real question is, how did you react critically as an artist within this image-based society?

E.K.: Well, let’s see. The work that I was doing in the early 80s was very much invested in its historical and political moment, because I was living under a dictatorship and in that context the conception of the body revolved to a great extent around suffering, around the tortured body, the body whose life has been eliminated. It was a very present reality associated with the body and I wanted, as a young man, to make a very strong statement against this situation. I wanted to invest that work in a transformative vector. I wanted the work to be invested in building a new reality that was different from the reality I lived in.

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