For an extract of the booklet presenting the project, please click on this link:
From the moment we are born, we are surrounded by living beings: our families, our fellow human beings, pets, and others who are less familiar, edible or ornamental plants. This perimeter is widened by encounters, sounds, and smells through walks, visits to zoos or botanical gardens, and also by images through reading books or watching videos.
We thus perceive living beings as a matter of course: they are diverse but also have common features. However, we are only aware of a tiny part of the community of living beings and, more often than not, we do not try to explain what makes them alive. The rapid development of scientific knowledge and technical tools for intervention on living beings should, however, encourage us to question our representations and to reflect on how contemporary societies can and should react to these developments.
In this perspective, the natural sciences, as well as the human and social sciences, offer fundamental insights into life and the consequences of biotechnologies on the organization of human societies. Indeed, questioning life is not only a theoretical challenge: it is also a question of reflecting on the social choices implied by the powers that humans exercise over living beings, as well as on the limits that should be drawn.
Life can thus be considered from multiple points of view that constitute as many "fragments" of it. Some mobilize the frontiers of research, others resonate with intense societal debates. There is no established corpus that could provide a set of simple messages. This is why the exploration of fragments of life proposed in this exhibition is conceived on the basis of the double register of reasoning and sensitive experience. Visitors are invited to question what it means to "define", "classify", "domesticate" or "manufacture" living beings. As full-fledged actors of an exploratory journey and an intellectual, playful, and aesthetic experience, they are led to rethink their inclusion in the community of living beings.