Tame is to Tame
Collaboration with Miranda de Graaf, Viroscience Lab, Erasmus MC
Can we tame the viruses? Can viruses tame us?
Viruses, semi-living entities that not just affect human health, but also evolve via the medium of the human body. Throughout history viruses have integrated themselves into our genome and became a part of the ‘human’. They evolve, and we evolve with them. Our immune system as well as our technology evolves and they evolve with us. This deeply intertwined relationship between humans and viruses, and the blurred line of living and non-living is one of the deepest driving forces of evolution.
Meanwhile, mankind treats viruses as enemies. The language of virology and public health is the language of warfare. Individuals who carry the virus are considered the vehicle of the enemy and should be quarantined. Our sole goal is to eradicate the viruses. Smallpox and Rinderpest are the only viruses that were successfully eradicated, but not without risks. Viruses remain present in the storage of some labs and represent a potential threat because we no longer vaccinate ourselves and nobody in the world has immunity towards it.
Within this project the artist and the scientist try to find out if we can treat the viruses, that are not likely to be eradicated, as if they are wild animals and build a controllable bond with them. In other words - to tame them. Domestication of wild animals not only changed the animals, but also human culture. Is it possible to befriend/observe viruses that remain dangerous from a safe distance, like the virologists have been doing for decades? Can this relationship be extended to the general public?
‘Tame is to Tame’ is a conceptual dance between viruses and human beings manifested through the fictional training program that trains human beings to be rigorous virus-tamers. These tamers will learn to build a relationship with viruses, rather than combatting them.
The artist and scientist join force to become the very first two virus-tamers in the world to embark a thought experiment through this fictional program to explore an alternative human-to-virus, human-to-human relationship. This project borrows the framework of fiction to initiate a discussion between the east and the west, the ignorant and the professional, where the artist and scientist go through stages of speculative and imaginative thought experiments, each stage proposes a novel idea for exploration as a trigger to re-adjust our attitude towards viruses.
Dance Film Director: Yen-An Chen
Choreographer & Dancer: Hsin Yu Chang
Sound: Po-Hao Chi
3D Modeling: MinShu Huang
Associate Designer: Rachel Jui Chi Chang
Virus Doll Production: Ling-Li Chen
Model: Yi-Ling Wu
Lighting: Li-Wei Chen
Photo Studio: FrenchFries.tw
Game Design: MinShu Huang
Viroscience Lab, Erasmus MC
As a part of the BADAward 2016 winner
Paul Huber, Chia-Lin He, William Myers, Jasper van Es, Cheng Guo, Paul Gong, Chun-Chi Lin, Kaung-Yi Ku, Spela Petric, Mike Thompson, Susana Camara Leret, Waag Society, 光點工坊, 立祥彫刻工藝社