Spare Parts is an installation exploring the illegal global organ trade in which the viewer is confronted with life sized video projections of a Bangladeshi kidney seller and a Canadian kidney transplant recipient-buyer facing each other and sitting in silence. The exhibit highlights the ethics of techno-medicine, the economy of the global marketplace, the intimacy of “spare parts,” and what it means to be human in the 21st century. Spare Parts was sponsored by the Social Justice Research Institute at Brock University and the Brock Studio for Narrative, Visual and Digital Methods. It was originally presented in conjunction with the Social Justice Research Institute Symposium, “Consuming Intimacies: Bodies, Labour, Care, and Social Justice,” October 15 & 16 at Brock University.
Spare Parts is a new collaboration between curator Camille Turner, artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg and medical anthropologist Monir Moniruzzaman with consultation and technical direction by Jim Ruxton.
Monir Moniruzzaman is a medical anthropologist whose research explores the illegal market of human body parts, including kidney, liver, and cornea. His articles have been published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, American Journal of Bioethics, and by the School of American Research. He has testified before the US Congress Human Rights Commission and US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His work has been discussed in numerous media, including ABC, BBC, CBC, HBO, NPR, VoA, and the Atantic. Two art exhibits based on his ethnography have been shown in Toronto and St. Catharines, Canada. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Center for Ethics and Humanities in Life Sciences at Michigan State University.
Camille Turner explores the social dimensions of technology. Through her curatorial practice she brings scholars and artists from various areas of study into conversation to catalyze new explorations at the intersection of art and science. In her artistic practice she investigates and animates hidden geographies, in particular, erased narratives of slavery in Canada. Camille graduated from Ontario College of Art and Design and York University’s Masters in Environmental Studies program where she is now a PhD candidate. She teaches at University of Toronto’s New College.
Heather Dewey-Hagborg has shown work internationally at events and venues including the Poland Mediations Bienniale, Norway Article Bienniale, Ars Electronica, Transmediale, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, the Science Gallery Dublin, PS1 MOMA, the New Museum, and Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City. Her work has been widely discussed in the media, from the New York Times and the BBC to TED and Wired. She is an Assistant Professor of Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Jim Ruxton attained a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ottawa. After working for a few years as a high frequency design engineer he decided to pursue his interest in the arts by attending the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). Since then he has been working as an artist and electronics engineer in installation, performance, theatre, dance and film with his company, Cinematronics. He is the founder of Subtle Technologies, a festival that explores the intersection of art, science and technology.