anatomy; selfhood; dissection; posthumanism
Michal Gavish created Dotplot and Pulldown, two animation videos based on imagery from Professor Onn Brandman’s laboratory at the biology department in Stanford University. The videos are construct of layered imagery of microscopy, X ray models and electrophoresis of proteins and DNA. With an original soundtrack composed by Brandman, she creates moving portraits of the minute molecules that cannot be seen by the naked eye.
5) [CROSS-KINGDOM CELL FUSION] video by Dr. Oron Catts, in collaboration with Ionat Zurr, Tarsh Bates, and SynthSys (University of Edinburgh), 2018. Music: A Dialogue in Absentia by Andrew Watts, 14:43, 2016.
This video documents ongoing research attempts to achieve the first ever cross-kingdom cell fusion in an in vitro setting between a yeast cell and a human cell. The team pursues ‘artifical endosymbiogenesis’; by opening membranes of mammalian and yeast cells in a micro-fluidic system, the cells can fuse and hopefully replicate. The project was presented at the Edinburgh Internaional Science Festival (March-April, 2018) and will be presented at the Western Australia Art Gallery in September. Poetic coincidence exists in the Scottish location of the research—the fictional Victor Frankenstein created his notorious monster two centuries ago on the Orkney Islands.
6) SOMABOOK video by Jill Scott, 6:44, 2018. Based on excerpts from a Neural Development and Media Art collaboration between Jill Scott and The Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zurich.
Today life is created and manipulated in vivo, in vitro and in ovo. This project focuses on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the establishment of neuronal circuits. The artwork, Somabook is about the complexity and wonder of the development of neuronal circuits in the human body. The sculpture itself is based on a scaled-up model of our own neural tube or spinal cord and through interaction; the viewers can discover how the network for incoming sensory perception and outgoing motor coordination has been developed. As can be shown in ovo and in vitro, before we are born, thousands of molecules work with proteins to guide our axons to grow from this central neural system into the correlating locations so that we can feel, smell, taste, hear, see and move normally. This embryonic development is best studied inside fertilized chicken eggs, using what is called “an open book” method of dissection and there it can be shown that inappropriate connections and influences not only result in loss of functions, causing various problems in growth patterns, movement and coordination, but also distortions of perception. Here the viewers can touch science, in order to learn more about the life of molecular and neural research in a novel way.
7) WHAT IT MEANS TO BE POST HUMAN audio art composition by Andrew Watts, 10:01, 2017-8.
The works presented here address an individual's communicative transformation, moving along a gradient from the performer channeling their expressivity through the medium of his or her instrument to utilizing inherent musicality through fragmented speech. For instance, What is means to be post human (2017-18) takes the physical concept of the human as acoustical body for machines to resonante in (first outlined in A Dialogue, In Absentia) and re-imagines it in a futuristic, hive-mind scenario. A Dialogue uses implanted bluetooth speakers to playback sounds through each trombone, having the performer actively modify the sound through mouthshapes and slide movements. For post human, rather than a dialogue between two forces, a hocket is the primary compositional structure, whereby the audio (this time played back into each singer's mouth through a headset) is a singularity among the group. The text-to-speech procedure used before now is virtuosically allocated to the different singers. Together the two works seek to explore how technology can utilize the human body as an acoustical space, with live performers modifying the playback environment while philosophizing on the most profound tenets of humanism.