Document Type


Publication Date



Although touted by promoters as the cutting edge of food science, meat produced in vitro (rather than from a whole animal) is emerging more directly from developments in fine art—more specifically, from the aesthetic experiments of Australian-based artists Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, who ask: What language do we have to describe the agency of tissue-cultured life? This essay begins to answer this question by tracing a tradition whereby bioengineered meat mediates complex environmental critiques in literary fiction over the past century, including Margaret Atwood’s exemplary novel Oryx and Crake (2003), which depicts biotech industries producing three distinct kinds of “real artificial meat,” all sourced in genetically modified animals.


Originally published: Configurations, 2010, 18:181–197 DOI: 10.1353/con.2010.0006 © 2011 by The Johns Hopkins University Press and the Society for Literature and Science.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.