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The new skin Lab, 2019

Collaboration, transformative processes, research, activism.

Interminable prescription for the plague, Cur. Kairon Lui,

MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei.

THE NEW SKIN LAB is a developing research and a socially engaged art project.

THE NEW SKIN LAB is collaboration between:

- Elena Redaelli, Katharina Eckert (Germany) and Kairon Lui (Taiwan).

- Yunlin University Department of science and technology for the technical research.

- Taiwan Lourdes Association, which relates to HIV/AID topics, is our partner from the Taiwanese Gay/LGB community and beyond.

THE NEW SKIN LAB is activism.


The project has been developed for the exhibition ‘Interminable Prescriptions for the Plague’, 2019, Curated by Activist and Artist Kairon Lui (Humans as hosts and Luv 'til it Hurts) at MOCA, Museum for Contemporary Art, Taipei.

The show brought together Taiwan based and international artists/researchers to explore the topic of HIV/AIDS.

While sharing ideas with other artists, HIV activists, doctors and performers, the wish to develop and expand these conversations into an art project: THE NEW SKIN LAB, was born.


For a person living with HIV the relation with daily medication is deeply controversial. While the medicine keeps you alive, it reminds you about the possibility of death.

The colors, shapes, even the sound of those plastic bottles become unsettling and familiar, bringing up feelings of repulsion yet necessity. The illness is present, hidden inside even if your life appears to be as everyone else’s life.

The sense of uneasiness is not only related to the physical action of the virus on the human body but often charged with the stigma of social blame and banishment.

HIV is still unmentionable and provokes feelings of fear and often repulsion.

Since January 2019 we collected HIV antivirus empty medicine bottles thanks to the cooperation of Lourdes Association, Taipei.

The call for empty bottles had a huge response. The bottles were stored and the medicine labels removed by a group of anonymous volunteers.

Our project, based on workshops and collaborative sessions of making, aimed to start an open platform for exchange on the topic of HIV; a space where shared creation could allow discussion, cooperation and recognition.

Within this project we wanted to convey the concept that we could be the ones carrying the virus and tell that openness and knowledge are important, before the medicine is needed.

HIV’s medicine empty bottles, instruction leaflets and the paper package of the bottles were transformed by the participants into a wearable new skin: a communal, pan-sexual outfit.

The material transformation symbolically brings about the possibility of change creating a communal piece that embraces our differences.

As a first step of the project we created a large scale installation to be displayed at the MOCA outdoor plaza.

During our free workshop sessions we transformed the medicine bottles into costumes, accessories or small wearable objects to be carried by the participants outside the museum and into real life.

Some of our bottle jewels, became part of the ' Positive coin` art project by Taiwanese Artist Lee Tzu-Tung.

THE NEW SKIN LAB is ongoing.

We believe that the creative outcome of our project cannot be restrained and will be extended to different media.

The evolving feature of The New Skin Lab will therefore rely on the collaboration of different groups or individuals who want to join us and to shape this project.

As a collaborative project ‘The New Skin Lab’ has the possibility to become an on-going platform where different groups who work in the field of visual arts, dance, science and social work can create, discuss and share on the topic of HIV.


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