Tiger Penis Project

Kuang-Yi Ku (TW)


Many cultures have their own systems of alternative medicine whose effectiveness cannot always be proven according to contemporary scientific analysis. They are usually regarded as mere cultural myths, such as the use of the tiger penis to increase virility in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). At the same time, the huge demand for wild animals in TCM poses a threat to endangered species. Nevertheless, TCM may offer other benefits beyond mainstream western medicine. Is there a way to resolve the conflict between health, culture, and environmental conservation through a new interpretation of traditional Chinese medicine?

Bringing non-western perspectives to speculative design scenarios, this project proposes the use of emerging biotechnologies to create artificial animal parts for Chinese medicine. Combining western and Chinese medicine and technologies, this new hybrid medicine prevents the further destruction of both animals and traditional cultures, and provides more possibilities for the coexistence of human society and the natural environment.

Project Credits:

  • Consultancy of Tissue Culture: Bronte W. Sun, Liting chen
  • Consultancy of Genetic Modification: Tsun-Hui Tsao, Zito Tseng
  • Consultancy of Traditional Chinese Medicine: An-Bin Cheng, Chun-Yu Lin, Po-Hsun Chen, Yu-Yen Lin
  • Video Filming and Prop Design: Jian Da Huang
  • Costume Design: Chia-Wei Tien, Yun Ting Chou
  • 3D Bioprinter Making: Lucas Zito Louisor
  • Graphic Design and Book Editing: Yu-Tzu Huang
  • Container Design and Website Design: Tzu-Yen Chen
  • Model: Rob Johnson
  • Collaborative Organizations: Baltan Laboratories, Eindhoven and Mediamatic, Amsterdam
  • Supported by Dimension Plus, National Culture and Arts Foundation, Taiwan and Ministry of Culture, Taiwan


Kuang-Yi Ku (TW) was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, recently based in the Netherlands. He is a former dentist, bio-artist and social designer. He also co-founded the Taiwan bioart community to stimulate the fields of BioArt and Science+Art in Taiwan. His works often deal with human body, sexuality, interspecies interaction and medical technology, aiming to investigate the relationships among technology, individuals and the environment.