Reanimated Pig Hearts Beating in an Art Installation

May 22, 2013 | Marina Galperina

Artist Helen Pynor is not a shock artist. Yes, she managed to get a fresh human brain for the “Brains: The mind as matter” installation at the Wellcome Collection in London last year, but her projects aren’t sensationalistic. They’re just unusually corporal.

The Body is a Big Place is Pynor’s large-scale, immersive installation. The underwater sequences were shot with members of the Melbourne organ transplant community. The hearts were from dead pigs.

The work explores organ transplantation and the ambiguous thresholds between life and death, revealing the process of death as an extended durational process, rather than an event that occurs in a single moment in time.

Using a heart perfusion system, Pynor and a team of scientist/artist collaborators reanimated a pair of fresh pig hearts until they beat again.

The artist is being featured on the latest episode of We Make Money Not Art’s  #A.I.L – artists in laboratories radio show on ResonanceFM.