Artist Attempts To Grow A Pigs Bladder Soccer Ball
John O'Shea is working in residence at the Clinical Engineering Unit at the University of Liverpool, using animal cell cultures to create the ball.
Artist John O’Shea is creating the world’s first bio-engineered soccer ball, grown from living cells. Commissioned by Abandon Normal Devices and funded by the Wellcome Trust, O’Shea is collaborating with Professor John Hunt and is currently in residence at Liverpool University’s Clinical Engineering Unit.
In the early days of soccer, a pig bladder was used inside the ball, and this project aims to look to the future by using that knowledge to create a ‘Pigs Bladder Football’ using animal cell cultures. O’Shea has been developing bespoke protocols for harvesting animal tissue. His work has been an exercise of precise tissue engineering, through biological experimentation, rapid prototyping and an iterative design process.
The final ball, which will be produced by replicating the same techniques used to create artificial human organs, encourages us to consider the role life sciences will have in our daily lives today and in the future. It is also a reference to the colliding worlds of human enhancement, the bio-technology industry and the global capitalization of sport, which have become highly contested areas.