Novogen is a project focusing on the eponymous breed of chickens, a special breed of commercial layer, which was developed in order to use its eggs in the production of pharmaceutical products such as medicines and vaccines. Through the investigation of the industrialized farming of the Novogen White Light chicken, Daniel Szalai intends to articulate questions and dilemmas regarding technology and man’s relation to nature.
The project comprises of three main parts. Its core is formed by an installation of 168 portraits of individual chickens. The installation is supplemented by a series of photographs documenting the environment of the production facilities as well as the process of the vaccine production. The last part is a selection of extracts from the management guide of the Novogen White Light and the marketing material of the company which produces them.
Besides posing questions about our understanding of nature and natural, it is a crucial aspect of the project to highlight the interference between how these chickens are being treated and conceptualized and how we think of people in certain situations, such as in the job market, or in the political sphere. The chicken can be a metaphor for human existence – says Szalai.
All images © Daniel Szalai