Novogen is a project focusing on the eponymous breed of chickens that was developed in order to use its eggs in the production of pharmaceutical products such as medicines and vaccines. Through the investigation of the industrialised farming of the Novogen White Light chicken, Dániel Szalai (HU) intends to articulate questions and dilemmas regarding technology and man’s relation to nature.
The core of the book is formed by an extensive series of portraits of individual chickens besides photographs documenting the environment of the production facilities and the process of vaccine production. The images are supplemented by a reflective text by philosopher Fahim Amir, a selection of extracts from the management guide of the Novogen White Light and the marketing materials of the company that produces them.
Besides posing questions about our understanding of the natural, Szalai believes that the way these chickens are ‘conceptualised’ can be a metaphor for human positions in the job market, or in the political domain.
Daniel Szalai (born 1991) is a Hungarian artist. His projects investigate peculiar manifestations of human-animal relationships and reflect on societal, political and economic anomalies. He mixes different media in his artistic practice and also works with spatial installations. Szalai studied photography at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and he also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art and Design Theory. Szalai is a member of the Carte Blanche Collective, the Studio of Young Artists’ Association and the Studio of Young Photographers, Hungary. He lives and works in Budapest.