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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 08:52 GMT
Skin tissue artwork in exhibition
An ear implanted in the arm of artist Stelarc
Artist Stelarc says the ear is an augmentation of the body's form
A controversial new exhibition on display in Liverpool showcases real skin tissue in sculptures.

Sk-interfaces at FACT includes a tiny coat made of human and rodent skin cultures, a brain with glowing moss and a jacket made of synthetic skin.

The ideas behind the unusual exhibits came from artists but was created by a group of scientists from the University of Liverpool.

The exhibition explores the concept of skin's place in art.

It is part of the Capital of Culture programme and features works from 15 international artists.

One of the artists involved, Stelarc, implanted an ear in his arm and he is going to attach a microphone which will be connected to the internet so people can hear what the "ear is hearing".

But the exhibition has also prompted ethical concerns.

A tiny jacket made of human and rodent skin cultures
I found this technology promising, challenging, but also very disturbing
Oron Catts, artist

John Ashton, director of public health said: "A lot of people might find this quite distasteful and it begins to raise the question whether challenging art of this type has any limits.

"Do artists have any responsibility to their audience as to how they feel about things?"

Curator Jens Hauser said: "What used to be understood as a surface that represents the limit of the self and between the inside and the outside can today be seen as an unstable border.

Oron Catts, artist behind the coat made of human and rodent cultures, said: "I found this technology promising, challenging, but also very disturbing, and I decided to pursue my interests in this technology as an art form and try to grow something from living tissues."

The Skin-terface exhibition in Liverpool

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