Artist's skin cell work cultivates concern
There is outrage at a Hobart artist's move to cultivate skin cells for art.
Alicia King has received ethical clearance to use her own cells and those of consenting patients at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
The artwork involves growing skin cells over glass forms, and fixing and dying them before they are added to an art piece.
"I basically drip the cells over the glass and they stick to the surface and they slowly start to grow and spread out until there is a thin membrane," she said.
"It's quite hard to see with the naked eye so I dye it with a tissue culture dye."
It has taken the University of Tasmania's Human Research and Ethics Board six months to approve King's application to use her own cells for the mixed-medium work.
"It's much more clear-cut with ethics if I am using my own," she said.
"There is no issues of consent that are there with animal tissue."
The clearance also means waste tissue from consenting patients at the Royal Hobart Hospital can be used.
But the hospital says it is inappropriate and has refused permission.
An exhibition of the work opens in Melbourne tomorrow.
(ABC News online Aug 16, 2006)