Bitesize Lecture with Brian Degger – Stories from the Flesh Factory

Whilst building my art practice, I have been working at a fish factory, which has been an inspiration for various bioart projects. Working with fish calls into question sustainability of harvesting these organisms. In the case of Orange Roughy, a deep-sea fish, we know more about how to catch them than their basic biology. My two drives are making the “barely visible obvious” and beauty through decay.” I undertake this through repurposing waste streams and utilising fish as media. I am intrigued by the relationship between human and underwater ecosystems.

This talk will cover past art visual art projects and further directions into bioart. In particular I will discuss a project BioOceanBalls that I wish to develop with FoAM. I am a formally trained biotechnologist and gained a PhD (2002) in the production of recombinant fish growth factors. I have became intrigued by the growing synergies between art and science, have developing a practice in time-based video art, and am moving towards realisation of a number of bio-art projects.

In 2004 I undertook an attachment with Blast Theory (UK), being involved in the production of a mixed reality game/performance titled I Like Frank for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. I also attended master classes by video artist Craig Walsh (AU) and John Cleater of the Builders Republic (US). Although not formally trained in new media, I have become familiar with this area through attendance of a number of international art and science  events including the Biennale of Perth 2002 and 2004, Converge, Adelaide 2002, and Transmediale, Berlin 2005. My video/image based work has been exhibited in Adelaide (SALA 2003, 2004 and Downtown Arts Space, 2004), Melbourne (Drivers Lane, 2004) and Dublin (Epoch, Meeting Square Temple Bar, 2005). The current project, BioOceanBalls, draws on my fascination for fish, and the possibility of reseeding underwater environments.