Abstract

Many cultures have their own systems of alternative medicine, the effectiveness of which cannot always be proven according to contemporary scientific analysis; the use of the tiger penis to increase virility in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is one such practice. While TCM may offer benefits beyond those available through mainstream western medicines, the huge demand for wild animals in TCM poses a threat to endangered species. Can a new interpretation of TCM resolve the conflict between health, culture, and environmental conservation? The Tiger Penis Project proposes the use of emerging biotechnologies to create artificial animal parts for Chinese medical applications both to prevent the further destruction of animals and traditional cultures and to provide more possibilities for the coexistence of human society and the natural environment.

Contributor Notes

Kuang-Yi Ku was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, and has been based in the Netherlands since 2016. A bioartist and speculative designer, he founded TW BioArt (a Taiwan bioart community) to stimulate the fields of bioart and science + art in Taiwan. His works often deal with the human body, sexuality, interspecies interactions, and medical technology. His Tiger Penis Project was awarded the 2018 Gijs Bakker Award—he also won First Prize in the Taipei Digital Art Awards in 2015 with The Fellatio Modification Project. Ku's works have been featured in New Scientist, The Huffington Post, Elephant Magazine, DAMN°Magazine, Dezeen, Designboom, VICE, Dazed Digital, the Daily Mail, and the New York Post. Email: fredku0212@gmail.com

Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

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