The Appeal of the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project

Finissage lecture on Friday, January 15, 2010, 6 pm,
Völkerkundemuseum von Portheim-Stiftung, Hauptstr. 235, 69117 Heidelberg

Koen Vanmechelen, Meeuwen-Gruitrode, Belgium

The Appeal of the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project

The Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP) started in 1998 with Vanmechelen’s search for a traditional Belgian chicken breed. From this point on he began a worldwide cross-breeding program involving national and regional chicken breeds. Today his project includes 13 generations of chicken with genes of Russian, French, Turkish, Mexican, Brazilian and other breeds. His goal is the Universal Chicken, the Cosmopolitan Chicken, that unites the genetic makeup of the entire history of this species.
The CCP is a symbiosis between art, science, politics and ethics. It evokes the debate on genetic modification, life and identity.

Koen VanmechelenKoen Vanmechelen

is a Belgian artist who works with diverse media including painting, drawing, photography, video, installations and glasswork. The link between these different media is the theme of chicken and egg. This motif enables Vanmechelen to connect scientific, political, philosophical and ethical issues. In 2003 he started the Cosmogolem Project. Wooden statues measuring four meters high function as a symbol of the savior of children. The statues are set up in different countries around the world and can be interpreted as a bridge between different cultures, which holds true also for the various breeding stations of his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project.


Next to numerous solo exhibitions, he recently contributed to collateral exhibitions of the 53rd Venice Biennale and to the third Moscow Biennial, both in 2009. Vanmechelen publishes “The Walking Egg,” a magazine in which ethicists, philosophers and scientists debate about procreation items, and the annual magazine “The Accident - Chronicles of the Cosmopolitan Chicken,” which is supported by the Verbeke Foundation.

This lecture is funded by the Cluster of Excellence, “Asia and Europe in a Global Context: Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows“ at Heidelberg University on the occasion of the finissage for the parcours exhibition „Becoming Intense, Becoming Animal, Becoming ...“.

Verantwortlich: SH
Letzte Änderung: 28.02.2012
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