On 6 May 2010 we launched The 'Immortalisation' of Billy Apple, a collaborative project by Billy Apple and Craig Hilton where the artist works in the service of science and science serves the artist to enhance and protect the artist's brand by immortalising his biological tissue for perpetuity. The transaction ensures that the brand (and the artist) can theoretically last forever, unconstrained by death and that Billy Apple cells are available for scientific research.
I consent to the the wide distribution of cell lines derived from my blood, including deposit with the American Type Culture Collection cell bank. I understand this may enable unrestricted use of my cells in research outside my control, including the potential analysis of my DNA. Billy Apple 12/05/2009
In this project Craig Hilton and Billy Apple provide the setting for science to mingle with art. Billy Apple B-lymphocytes were isolated and grown in tissue culture media. These cells were then virally transformed and can now grow indefinitely in cell culture medium. Without such transformation, these cells have, like the artist they are derived from, a limited life span. The immortalised cells, housed in a container that mimics the precise environmental conditions present in the artists' body were installed at Starkwhite for the project launch.
Foreshadowing another phase of this evolving collaboration, Hilton says the Billy Apple cell line will be used in a study that will directly benefit cancer and immunology research as well as continue the conceptual work of Billy Apple through a project where he is simultaneously a subject of art and scientific endeavour.
The 'Immortalisation' of Billy Apple can be seen at Starkwhite today and tomorrow (Saturday).
Images: The 'Immortalisation' of Billy Apple, by Billy Apple and Craig Hilton at Starkwhite, Auckland NZ, 6 May 2010