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2.6g 329m/s - Bulletproof Skin


17.08. - 30.09.2018

The interdisciplinary artist Jalila Essaïdi explore boundaries by piercing barriers in her work Bulletproof Skin, also known as 2.6g 329m/s. 2.6g 329m/s is the performance standard for bulletproof vests, the maximum weight and velocity of a .22 calibre Long Rifle bullet from which a Type 1 bulletproof vest should protect you.

The ever increasing exposure to violence through news and other sources of (social) media manipulate our feeling of safety. Giving rise to a culture of fear. The individual and even society can be driven by this feeling to make irrational responses to imaginary threats.

Essaïdi explores the social, political, ethical and cultural issues surrounding safety in a world with access to new biotechnologies – by reinforcing in vitro human skin with spider silk from genetically modified organisms in order to stop a speeding bullet.

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

With this work Essaïdi wants to show that safety in its broadest sense is a relative concept, and hence the term bulletproof. The work did stop some bullets, but not those at full speed. With a “bulletproof skin” pierced by bullets the experiment leads to the conversation about how which forms of safety would benefit society. The viewer is left to reflect upon relativity and dual nature of safety.

Jalila Essaïdi (b. 1980) is a Dutch artist and entrepreneur based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Essaïdi is specialized in the fields of bio-based materials and biological arts. Essaïdi’s projects have been covered by Associated Press, Reuters, CNN and the BBC, among numerous others, and she has subsequently given interviews and lectures all over the world. Recent exhibitions include: Van Abbemuseum, MU artspace, The Netherlands; Dutch Design Week, The Netherlands; OK Center for Contemporary Art, Austria; Sølvberget galleri, Norway.


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