RNA Chips and Butterflies
Conceptual work. Seibersdorf 2008.

Roberta Lima's work has continuously questioned the subjects of space and performative interaction. At the same time, she aims for a highly aesthetic atmosphere in performances and installations. The negotiated positions of beauty are created in Lima's work by framing the modernistic old -school feel with cables, cameras, screens, projections and other tools of her trade as video artist.
Lima not only embraces these conditions of production and makes them visible, the same way she regularly does with the interior of her body, she also refers to the technical sphere in her reflections on body politics. Her critical position on body politics has always been that of an insider. It seems that she uses the means created to control and discipline the dangerous other as tools to sculpt herself. This reinterpretation of body politics still seems to be controversial, but creates a unique state of self-control and shows a highly ambiguous possibility to act despite living in an environment of forced interaction.
For RNA Chips and Butterflies, Lima had the possibility for the first time to enter a locked away space: the biological laboratory. This contemporary and futuristic area with a still not fully explored potential for bio-control fits Lima's concepts perfectly. She is ready to grab this ritualistic space normally hidden from the public.
Lima uses this space as a gateway to an even vaster area: the microcosm of cells and biological autopoiesis. She is able to reclaim a part of her body that has not been focus of her work yet, a part far more hidden than arms and legs and skin, and use it for her aesthetical experiments. This is interior design on a new scale and she carries pieces of it to the outside world to exhibit them. Lima returns from the laboratory space with trophies from a safari inside herself. Those trophies not only include photographs and videos but also the very reactions of her body that was violated in a subtle way—recorded on so-called RNA chips.
At the same time, Lima encounters in the microcosm an area beyond her control - or the control of bio-politics—as explained by chaos theory and the butterfly effect. It seems obvious that this loss of control has to be made a subject of discourse in the context of Lima's work. Something that frees you from outside control, but also takes away your own self-determination echoes back to the recurring themes of Roberta Lima's work.

Jörg Pacher


Micro-invasion of My Body
Photography: Ana Paula Franco
Video: Roberta Lima
Microscope photographs: Klemens Vierlinger

Documenting Chaos: RNA Chips
Photographs and video: Roberta Lima

Special Thanks to: Klemens Vierlinger, Helmut Pairleitner, Candido Fonseca da Silva, Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein, Claus Zweythurm, Karli Pacher, and Teamware