French artist Marion Laval-Jeantet has injected horse blood into her body as part of her latest work, entitled May the Horse Live in Me.
The piece was designed to explore the blurring of boundaries between species.
She prepared her body to accept the horse blood plasma by being injected with different horse immunoglobulins over the course of several months.
The foreign animal antibodies were injected in progressively larger amounts to allow her to build up tolerance in a process that she referred to as “mithridatisation,” after the Persian king of Pontus, Mithridates VI, who, legend has it, built up an immunity to poison by regularly taking small doses of it.
Earlier this year, after months of preparation, Jeantet was injected with the blood, which contained the full spectrum of immunoglobulins without provoking an allergic reaction.
As part of the performance she also dressed in a set of stilts with hooves on the end to "feel at one with the horse".
She the paraded around with the donor equine in a “communication ritual”, before having her hybrid blood extracted and freeze-dried.
Jeantet told media that the whole process made her feel “hyperpowerful, hypersensitive and hypernervous.”
“I had a feeling of being superhuman," she said. I was not normal in my body. I had all of the emotions of a herbivore. I couldn’t sleep and I felt a little bit like a horse.”
The art collective Jeantet is part of, Art Orienté Objet, has a long history of working in the bioart space. It has created other pieces including Skin Culture, which uses
bioengineered skin as a canvas for animal-shaped tattoos.