The Chicken´s Appeal

21 02/2014

Friday, 21 Feb. 2014, 11:00 - 13:00

Presenter: Koen Vanmechelen
Host: Prof. Anton Zeilinger
Where: Christian Doppler Hörsaal, Boltzmanngasse 5, 3rd Floor, 1090 Vienna

The Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen (1965) is an internationally renowned, conceptual artist who has presented his work on almost all continents, from the China and Iceland to Senegal. He is mostly known for his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project; an artistic-scientific breeding project, which he started in 2000. In this millennium year he made his first crossbreeding between two chicken species; the Mechelse Koekoek (BE) and the Poulet de Bresse. Since then, 17 generations of ʻMechelseʼ chickens came into existence, the Mechelse Styrian being the latest one. The ultimate result of this project is a truly cosmopolitan chicken that carries the genes of all of the world's breeds.
With the CCP, Vanmechelen positions art categorically where it belongs: in the middle of society, between people, and always committed. His oeuvre is as diverse and hybrid as the cosmopolitan chicken itself: a unique mix of paintings, drawings, photography, video, installations and wooden sculptures, the unifying theme of which is always the chicken and the egg. But nothing is what it seems. The core of the project is neither the chicken nor the egg, but crossbreeding and the diversity that comes from it. In this way, the artist uses the animal and its offspring as important symbols that allow him to make links between scientific, political, philosophical and ethical issues. The intrinsic philosophical system he thus developed is not only translated in his work but is also often the subject of debates, discussions and lectures by the artist.
During these lectures, Koen Vanmechelen explains his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project and his Open University of Diversity by introducing the listener to a world characterized by a symbiosis between art, science, philosophy, politics and ethics. A new way of reflecting on existential questions and on contemporary issues that relate to, among others, diversity, globalization, racism, genetic modification and cloning. In 2008, for example, he was invited at the World Economic Forum in Davos to share his perspective on diversity and in 2010 he spoke at the TEDxConference. But he also presented his project and vision at the World Expo in Shanghai, the Biennial of Venice, the Climate Change Congress and the Creativity world Forum. “Because cross-breeding is the one thing. We need to cross breed across the borders if we do not want the world to perish. We need to think cosmopolitan. Nothing is as beautiful as joining with other cultures and taking energy from it.”