Xenological Entanglements. 001b: Saccular Fount


Adriana Knouf ‘s work can perhaps be described as “xenological”. Humanly and scientifically her research revolves around the analysis, expansion, investigation of the “xenon”, of what is indeed strange, foreign, alien and other. Although this research emanates directly from and in itself, as transgender, it expands by opening up avenues of experimentation that transcend spatial, conceptual and bureaucratic boundaries. Coming to Europe from the United States, Knouf, who is both an artist and a scientist, has experienced the physical and psychological anxiety and discomfort associated with the difficulty finding the oestrogen hormones she needs. This experience probably motivated her to deepen her previous research and thus was born “Xenological Entanglements. 001b: Saccular Fount”, a device worn on the chest, a testosterone-saturated “sacculus” in which the Leydig cells of the testis convert this hormone into estradiol with the help of the enzyme aromatase. In this way, cells from the part of the body most associated with masculinity – the testes – are induced to produce estradiol, which by contrast is associated with femininity. These cells grow under conditions that simulates microgravity, making Saccular Fount a potential candidate for external hormone production during long-term space missions. The project was carried out during the artistic residency within Biofriction. It is at one and the same time an act of resistance to pharmaceutical companies, a source of inspiration for scientific research into the personal production of hormones, but also an artistic act that, with its undisguised messiness, reminds us of the social difficulties that are evident in the lives of transgender people (or in any case “xeno”). Benedetta Sabatini


Adriana Knouf – Xenological Entanglements. 001b: Saccular Fount