Monitoring the scientist’s body: The biosphere 2 human exhibition

Janna Jones, Dana Beasley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article investigates the ideological and rhetorical consequences of exhibiting the scientist’s body during the 1991–93 Biosphere 2 mission. The facility’s presentation of a technological future was overshadowed by the inability of the Biospherians to thrive within the confines of Biosphere 2, made known to the public via intrusive and unconventional methods of observation. Despite the dome’s popularity, and the previous successes of similarly focused exhibits of science and technology, the inclusion of the Biospherians as part of the exhibition obscured the intended ideology of progress, revealing instead a narrative of the vulnerabilities of humankind. In spite of the rhetorical failure of the 1990s mission, the 2018 Biosphere 2 has recaptured the ideology of scientific progress by removing the scientist’s body from the display and affecting a more publicly accessible research facility, thus allowing for a subsequent rebalancing of traditional power between the scientist and the public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-246
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Curatorial Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Biosphere 2
  • Calorie restricted diet
  • Ecology
  • Exposition
  • Human exhibition
  • Science and technology
  • Scientific credibility
  • World’s Fairs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Museology


Dive into the research topics of 'Monitoring the scientist’s body: The biosphere 2 human exhibition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this