mike bianco, oron catts & ionat zurr | vessels of care and control

To the extent of having neighbours, there are more-than-humans to consider.

Vessels of Care and Control will call attention to our non-human neighbours. Harnessing and exploring organic and non-organic materials, different technologies and varying geographies, Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr and Mike Bianco will construct two experimental incubators (Compostcubator and Hivecubator) that hold the potential to host cellular life. Presented with and based at Perth City Farm, these incubators will act as catalysts to host a series of live, outdoor, lab-based workshops, which will aim to help the human community ‘know’ their broader biological neighbours. 

Compostcubator by Catts and Zurr, will consist of organic locally-sourced materials, piled and mixed together to create a compost pile of monumental proportions. The heat generated from the bacteria decomposing this so-called ‘biological waste’ will provide the warming conditions needed to grow new cellular neighbours.

Mike Bianco’s Hivecubator is based on studies that show bees are fastidious at maintaining the temperature and CO2 levels of their hives. Such conditions, alongside the pollinating behaviours of bees, will serve to create an alternative incubator for the propagation of cells.

opening event

Sun 4 Nov, 2 - 4pm | Perth City Farm, East Perth

Hear from the artists alongside Perth City Farm’s, Farm Manager, Rod Hughes in a discussion on organic incubators, creating new living systems, permaculture gardening and the balance between care and control.

Join the Facebook event.

Build the Compostcubator

Sat 3 and Sun 4 Nov, 9am – 5pm | Perth City Farm

Join Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr as they build a large-scale anaerobic compost incubator to host live animal cells. Inspired by Jean Pain’s compost hot water system, this live social and biological experiment will continue at Perth City Farm across Saturday and Sunday.

Think: Grape stomping, but with mulch. Bring: Sealed shoes, hat and sunscreen. Participants are welcome at any time.

Join the Facebook event

Bee Hunting Workshop

Sat 10 Nov, 10am – 12pm | Perth City Farm

Learn about the history, art and science behind the ancient practice of honey hunting. Join artist Mike Bianco in a hands-on workshop to construct your own honey hunting box and honeybee-bait. Participants will be given a live demonstration of how their honey-hunting boxes work and will practice their skills in the field.

Included: Instructional zine, honey hunting license and official honey hunting badge!

Join the Facebook event | Register via Eventbrite here


Award winning artists, researchers and curators, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr formed the internationally renowned Tissue Culture and Art Project. Catts is the Co-Founder and Director of SymbioticA: the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts at the University of Western Australia and a Professor of Contestable Design at the Royal College for the Arts, UK. Dr Ionat Zurr is researcher and SymbioticA’s academic coordinator as well as a Senior Lecturer at Visual Arts at the School of Design, University of Western Australia. Both are Visiting Professors at Biofilia – Based for Biological Arts, Aalto University Finland (2015-2020). They are considered pioneers in the field of biological arts and publish widely, exhibit internationally and their work has been collected by MoMA, New York. Catts & Zurr's ideas and projects reach beyond the confines of art; their work is often cited as inspiration to diverse areas such as new materials, textiles, design, architecture, ethics, fiction, and food.

Mike Bianco is an artist, researcher, activist, and beekeeper. Bianco’s art practice is invested in socially engaged art, and focuses on issues of politics, environment, sustainability, community activism, and the impending “century of crisis.” Bianco’s work has been exhibited in numerous venues, ranging from the Perth International Arts Festival, in Western Australia, to the Kenpoku Art Festival in Ibaraki, Japan. Bianco received his BA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Alfred University (2004), an MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts (2007), an MFA in Art & Design from the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan (2015), and is currently a PhD candidate with SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia.


Perth City Farm is a non-profit community environmental centre that provides space and opportunities to build community connections, and educates and enables people to live sustainably. We focus on the relationships between people and the environment, society, and one another.

Perth City Farm was founded in 1994 on the site of a former scrap metal yard and battery recycling facility in East Perth, just next to the Claisebrook train station and adjacent to the CBD.  This once toxic and highly polluted site has been lovingly rehabilitated over many years by volunteers to become a thriving community garden and a Western Australian icon for environmental sustainability and community engagement.

Images: Mike Bianco, Oron Catts, Devon Ward & Ionat Zurr, Vessels of Care and Control: Prototypes of Compustcubator & Hivecubator, 2016, Kenpoku Art 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.