Paul Vanouse, Labor, Multi-sensory installation, Burchfield Penny Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. 2019. Photo: Francesca Bond/Buffalo News.
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Paul Vanouse’s Labor, is a scent-based bio-media installation which produces the scent of human sweat—but without humans. The scent is produced by three bio-reactors in the exhibition space incubating bacteria of the human epidermis. Labor investigates the post-anthropocentric basis of humanness and abjection. The project poetically reflects upon industrial society’s shift from human and machine labor to increasingly pervasive forms of microbial manufacturing, and positions viewers to contemplate the changing borders defining what is human. The project was awarded the Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica, 2019.
Paul Vanouse has been working in emerging media forms since 1990. Interdisciplinarity and impassioned amateurism guide his art practice. For nearly twenty years, Vanouse has sought to force the arcane codes of scientific communication into a broader cultural language. His electronic cinema, biological experiments, and interactive installations have been exhibited in over 25 countries and widely across the US.
Vanouse is a Professor of Art at the University at Buffalo, NY, where he is also founding Director of the Coalesce Center for Biological Art a major facet of UB’s Community of Excellence in Genomics, Environment and Microbiomics. He holds a BFA from the University at Buffalo (1990) and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University (1996).
This work has been discussed in journals including: Art Journal, Art Papers, Art News, Flash Art International, Leonardo, New Scientist, New Art Examiner, New York Times and numerous academic books on art and technology.