Revital Cohen is a designer who develops critical objects and provocative scenarios exploring the juxtaposition of the natural with the artiﬁcial. Her work spans across various mediums and includes collaborations with scientists, bioethicists, animal breeders and physicians. As a research associate within the Design Interactions department at the Royal College of Art (RCA), she has recently completed a speculative project investigating genetics and nanoparticles, supported by a Wellcome Trust Art Award.
For her graduation project at the RCA she been awarded both the FactoryDesign and the CABE award by the Helen Hamlyn Centre, and been nominated for Brit Insurance Design of The Year Award. She is the current winner of the Science Museum’s Emerging Artist Commission, and selected by Icon magazine as the youngest of the 20 designers who are shaping the future. Since graduating from the RCA in 2008 she has been exhibiting and lecturing internationally within varied contexts and locations – from scientiﬁc and academic conferences to art galleries and design fairs.
Assistance animals – from guide dogs to psychiatric service cats – unlike computerised machines, can establish a natural symbiosis with the patients who rely on them. Could animals be transformed into medical devices?
This project proposes using animals bred commercially for consumption or entertainment as companions and providers of external organ replacement. The use of transgenic farm animals, or retired working dogs, as life support ‘devices’ for renal and respiratory patients offers an alternative to inhumane medical therapies.
Could a transgenic animal function as a whole mechanism and not simply supply the parts? Could humans become parasites and live off another organism’s bodily functions?