Dr Ionat Zurr is an artist, curator, researcher and academic coordinator of SymbioticA. An award winning artist and researcher, Zurr formed, together with Oron Catts, the Tissue Culture and Art Project. She has been an artist in residence in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology since 1996 and was central to the establishment of SymbioticA in 2000. Zurr, who received her PhD titled ‘Growing Semi-Living Art’ from the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts, is a core researcher and academic co-ordinator at SymbioticA. She is considered a pioneer in the field of biological arts and her work has been exhibited internationally. Zurr specialises in biological and digital imaging as well as video production.Zurr has studied art history, photography and media studies. She was a research fellow at the Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication Laboratory, Harvard Medical School from 2000-2001. Her PhD via SymbioticA examined the ethical and epistemological implications of wet biology art practices.
The Tissue Culture & Art Project, initiated in 1996, is an ongoing research project into the use of tissue technologies in artistic practice. Through the creation of the Semi-Living – a new class of life grown using tissue technology – the TC&A Project probes accepted ideas of life and identity, the concept of self, and the place of human beings in regard to other living beings and the environment. In the current scientific landscape, TC&A plays a valuable role in questioning the new ethics and epistemologies surrounding issues of partial life and the contestable future scenarios being offered.Zurr began her research, along with Oron Catts, in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology prior to the establishment of SymbioticA. The two were instrumental along with Professor Miranda Grounds and Professor Stuart Bunt in establishing the space for other artists to gain access to the facilities of the School of Anatomy and Human Biology and continue their research as core SymbioticA Artists in addition to mentoring and training other artists in tissue engineering.