Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr at the Tissue Culture & Art Project are attempting to grow a semi-living jacket in an effort to create "victimless leather." Hoping to highlight the possibility of wearing leather without killing an animal, the duo is presently focused on growing living tissue into a leather-like material and having it mature in the form of a miniature, stitchless, coat-like shape. Grown using a combination of mouse and human cells, the jacket is 2 inches high and 1.4 inches wide. Using a biodegradable polymer as a base, the team coated it with 3T3 mouse cells to form connective tissue and topped it up with human bone cells in the hope of creating a stronger layer of skin. The jacket is being grown inside a specially designed bioreactor that acts as a surrogate body. The group hopes that once the polymer degrades, a whole jacket that maintains its shape and integrity will be left behind.
TC&AP also has several other projects underway, of which include ‘Semi-living food’, Which is grown from frog cells; An ‘Extra ear’, 1/4th normal size; Pigs with wings, and semi-living worry dolls. Semi-Living worry Doll The Extra Ear Semi-living food