Experimenta Life Forms – – COMMISSION ARTIST

Artist: Helen Pynor (NSW)
Artwork: Habitation 

We are currently witnessing a rapid expansion in the use of prosthetic implants in many branches of medicine, and a consequent boundary collapse between animate-inanimate. Pynor’s recent experience of hip replacement surgery prompted her work Habitation where she was granted permission to keep her surgically-removed femur head, which she will use in a bone china sculpture work.

Redeploying a range of biomedical technologies, Habitation explores prosthetics not from the perspective of the ‘redundancy’ of the human body and its replacement by implants, but through a nuanced exploration of the manner in which all entities – human bone, soft tissue and human-created prostheses – are animated by their encounters with each other.

Aspects of the research and development of Habitation will be undertaken at SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia.

Read an ‘in development’ interview with the artists HERE

Helen Pynor explores philosophically and experientially ambiguous zones such as the life-death boundary. Her work is informed by in-depth residencies in scientific institutions, most recently The Francis Crick Institute, London; The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden; and The Heart and Lung Transplant Unit, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. She also frequently collaborates with members of the broader community whose embodied experiences connect with themes in her work.

Pynor has exhibited widely nationally and internationally including at The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; The National Centre for Contemporary Art, Russia; Science Gallery Dublin; Science Gallery London; FACT, Liverpool UK; Wellcome Collection, London; and Performance Space, Sydney. She has received an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica, Austria, and national awards in Australia. Pynor holds a PhD, a Bachelor of Visual Arts, and a Bachelor of Science (1st Class Hons).


Experimenta Life Forms International Triennial of Media Art

Exploring how biological and artificial life are challenging human-centric thinking, Experimenta Life Forms will be Experimenta’s 8th national touring exhibition. It premieres in 2021 and will tour nationally until 2023. Click here to find out more.

‘Habitation’ by Helen Pynor is an Experimenta and SymbioticA Commission.

Image Credit: Right Femoral Head, Helen Pynor (2019), Photo Jaden J.A. Hastings. Image courtesy of the artist.