Mutagenesis is the process of genetic modification, imposed either intentionally or spontaneously, which results in mutations in the object exposed. In biology, it is strictly related to the changes in DNA sequence. However, Etat Temporaire: Mutagenèse is exploring the concept in a metaphorical sense, reflecting both on the transformations in culture and artistic production. Either in the subject or psychically as part of the formal matter, the exhibited artworks represent externally induced modifications, where the transitioning processes are taking their own spontaneous forms.
Mutation and hybridization are, by definition, the results of combining different categories in order to adapt to the new environment. Any process of conversion leaves something open to interpretation because new forms, appearing as a result of this process, can no longer be identified as something known. They are transitions, combinations, that hold tension of differences, which have to coexist and form a unity.
Etat Temporaire: Mutagenèse focuses on the phenomenon of a hitherto unknown transitional condition that contemporary world is going through. The natural state, manifested in dependency of humankind on nature, has forever been the immutable norm. The radical alienation of the mankind from the natural towards “technological” started with industrial revolution. Since then human development went faster than any evolutionary mechanism can get. Genetic experiments, modifications of human appearance, and creation of artificial intelligence are the prominent examples of this development. Together with ecological catastrophe, caused by human activity, these are signals that the historical moment we are living through is a process of a transition from the industrial era to the biotechnological epoch. This process has already been noted in 1989 by Felix Guattari, who stated in the Three Ecologies that “the Earth is undergoing a period of intense techno-scientific transformations. If no remedy is found, the ecological disequilibrium this has generated will ultimately threaten the continuation of life on the planet’s surface. ”
Therefore, the transition we currently observe in the environment can be seen more as a mutation rather than an evolution — that is why this ongoing metamorphosis can be compared to the biological notion of Mutagenesis. There is always something uncomfortable and enigmatic in the process of conversion; so the question is whether it would lead to a harmonious result or not.
Diana Coole questions the pervasive forms of biopower which are modifying behavior at the all the levels of everyday life. “While some of these developments are regarded positively as new opportunities for preserving and enhancing life, more typically it is the threats they pose to material (co-)existence that are being explored. ”
Etat Temporaire: Mutagenèse aims to explore what forms are appearing during the process of unpredictable transition, how the common things are changing, what mutations and hybrids are awaiting as the result of this transitional journey. Taking as a starting point transformation, hybridization and mutations, and observing how contemporary artists picture the current state of the incipient transformation, the exhibition Etat Temporaire: Mutagenèse is posing questions on the process of change and transition.
It is not new for artists to reflect on the possible influence of science on human and nature, picturing scientific experiments and results of hybridization. Many have been touching on the monstrosity and physical mutation, for instance: Patricia Piccinini, Joel-Peter Witkin, Hans Bellmer, and Pierre Molinier. Nevertheless, in contemporary reality it is not sufficient only to think of the terrifying physical transmutations. In this regard acute is observation made by Eunryung Kim, that “The fundamental core of the monstrosity that the monster shows is not the uncanniness or the grotesqueness of the body, but rather the unfamiliarity arising when a single concept isn’t categorized or the uncertainty or ambiguity inherent in the variety of meaning.” Nowadays, changes and “monstrous” transformations are not centered around anthropomorphism; mutations are noticeable in many realms concerning our environment and civilization in general. Thus, more global questions imminently arise: if the currently ongoing mutation of the environment is inevitable, is the moment of no return possible to avoid and what is awaiting afterwards?
These questions are corresponding to the notion of bifurcation in the Order/Chaos theory. Essentially, bifurcation implies the critical condition of the system, when it becomes not resilient to its fluctuations. Emerging unpredictability of the system poses the question: whether the state of the system will become chaotic or will it evolve to a next, more differentiated and high level of order.
Process of self-organisation, which leads to the further development of the system, is not possible without the period of chaos and uncertainty, when the structure of the system is disrupted and internal and external factors stop producing expected outcomes. Etat Temporaire: Mutagenèseis presenting seven artists with different approaches to the phenomenon of an unknown mutation and transition processes of the period of chaos that contemporary world is currently experiencing.
By following their intuition, which is essentially “the relational movement through which the present begins to coexist with its futurity, with the quality or manner of the not-yet that lurks at the edges of actual experience, ” artists are exploring the uncertainty of state of transition.
Experiments with the notion of mutation either in the subject of work or through the materiality of concept, are eventually leading to a dialogue between the artists, united inside of the imaginary laboratory space. Artists of the Etat Temporaire: Mutagenèse are representing an attempt to reflect the complex transition process and are taking an utopian guess of what might be the next step of the ongoing transformation. And here we enter a very fertile environment to question the past, the present and the future of what is (un)known.
Maria Brazina & Alisa Puznianskaia
 GUATTARI, Felix. The Three Ecologies, trans. by Ian Pindar and Paul Sutton. London: The Athlone Press, 2000.
 COOLE, Diana. Feminism, Materialism, and Freedom, published in Realism, Materialism, Art. Ed. by C. Cox, J. Jaskey, S. Malik. Sternberg Press, 2015. P. 47-61.
 KIM, Eunryung. ‘Becoming the Human’ or ‘Becoming Posthuman’ in the Posthumanism Age: Focusing on Frankenstein, published in Transhumanités: Fictions, formes et usages de l’humain dans les arts contemporains. Ed. by I. Moindrot, S. Shin. L’Harmattan, 2012. P. 115-135.
 MANNING, Erin. Artfulness, published in The Nonhuman Turn, ed. By Richard Grusin, 2015. P. 45-79
Provocative Alloys: A Post-Media Anthology. Ed. by Clemens APPRICH, Josephine B. SLATER, Anthony ILES, Oliver L. SCHULTZ. Post-Media Lab & Mute Books, 2013.
Realism, Materialism, Art. Ed. by Christoph COX, Jenny JASKEY, Suhail MALIK. Sternberg Press, 2015.
The Nonhuman Turn, ed. by Richard GRUSIN. Minneapolis (US): University of Minnesota Press, 2015.
Transhumanités: Fictions, formes et usages de l’humain dans les arts contemporains. Ed. by I. MOINDROT, S. SHIN. L’Harmattan, 2012.