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The Appendix Human, 2019, mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Sarah Kim (ACC.ACI).



Being, and Organs, 2019, mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Crispian Chan.



Sloth Effect: NO. 2, The Dialogue between Fiction and Reality, 2020, mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Andrew Kan.



Sloth Effect: NO. 2, The Dialogue between Fiction and Reality, 2020, mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Andrew Kan.



Sloth Effect: NO. 2, The Dialogue between Fiction and Reality, 2020, mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Andrew Kan.



Sloth Effect: NO. 2, The Dialogue between Fiction and Reality, 2020, mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Andrew Kan.




Paul GONG

The Fourth Genre: Laboratory/Operating Room/Specimen Room



“We are, constitutively, companion species. We make each other up, in the flesh.”—Donna Haraway

As an extension to the context of Sloth Effect: NO. 1, The Rainforest of Axilla, this work is established on the observation of the symbiotic relationship between fungus in the hair of sloths (Bradypus tridactylus) and sloth moths in rainforests. Inspired by the finding that the fungus has the potential of resisting certain diseases, I imagine human axillary hair as miniature rainforests and wonder if biodiversity exists in the armpits, and whether we can be transformed into “The Bio-axillary Hair” through biotechnology. This work explores the relationship between Nature and ‘Unnature,’ as well as the social, cultural, aesthetical, and gender-related implications of axillary hair in contemporary society.

Sloth Effect: NO. 2, The Dialogue between Fiction and Reality presents the research, extended thinking, and creative presentation related to sloths and human axillary hair from the previous project. This work is a thought experiment interwoven with observations of Sloth Effect: NO. 1, The Rainforest of Axilla gathered from visitors over time, forming a collective imagination that enables dialogue between fiction and reality, an exchange between the artist and the audience, between speculative imagination and scientific research. A further question would be: as animals inspire us to reflect on our own possibilities as humans, perhaps humans and animals may progress from “companion species” to “communion species”?

Profile

Paul Gong (born 1988, Lincoln, Nebraska, the United States) is a speculative designer, artist, and curator.

He is currently Assistant Professor Rank Specialist of the Department of Industrial Design at Shih Chien University in Taipei. He holds an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art in London.

He was awarded the “Next Art Tainan Awards” in 2018 and the “Core77 Design Awards” in 2020. He sees design as a research method and thinking tool to explore different possibilities, to criticise the past and the present, and to speculate the future. His works Human Hyena and The Cow of Tomorrow have been featured in international media ranging from Dezeen and Core77. His works have also been exhibited internationally and The Appendix Human has been exhibited at Asian Culture Center in Gwangju and Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab in Taipei.