Artist And Scientists Regenerate Vincent van Gogh’s Severed Ear From Great-Great Grandson’s DNA

The age-old question asks: If you replace every part of a ship, is it the same ship? Converted into 21st-century tech, the question becomes whether a 3D bioprinted ear created in part from Vincent van Gogh’s s great-great-great nephew’s DNA is actually the famous painter’s ear.

The answer is that we don’t know, but it sure is gross and weird.

Sugababe severed ear van gogh

Yet that is exactly artist Diemut Strebe has done in collaboration with scientists with the piece “Sugababe”, now on display at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany.

You can “talk” to the ear because software converts input sound to stimulate nerve impulses. And here’s the kicker: Because Strebe and the scientists involved in the project are feeding the ear a nutrient solution to keep it “alive”, the ear will be on display until July 6th.