artist based in Australia. I know that doesn't sound Mediterranean rim but I
will be undertaking an artist in residency in Istanbul in August 2011. The
residency is part of a three way collaboration called Blood on Silk between
a physicist a writer and myself.
The cross disciplinary collaboration is to use as its foundation the ARC
funded research project being undertaken by Dr. Peter Domachuk in the School
of Physics at the University of Sydney and from that develop a conceptual
framework of debate exploring ideas thrown up by that research project. This
framework will be expressed through education, writing and visual art
projects. The ARC project is looking at the development of implantable silk
microchips than would provide a platform or ability to form an array within
the human bloodstream to allow properties of those blood cells to be
determined or measured while the blood was still within the body - a
Some of the ideas to be examined are;
- the materiality of silk as a 'natural' protein fibre, 'green',
'sustainable', from the cocoon of the silkworm, with a triangular cross
section, and being non allergenic
- the cultural history of silk . 'silk routes' pathways of commercial,
cultural and technological exchange; early industrial espionage (Byzantine
period) associated with stealing the technological information about how to
make methods of making silk yarn form the cocoons, teachings against the
wearing of silk by men
- the materiality of the refined silk / fibrion, It's characteristics -
transparent, castable or mouldable, conformable flat or patterned surfaces,
cast or spin coat, Water content and method of drying drives dissolvability
- the mechanism of reading blood characteristics in the array patterning and
- concepts of liveness of internal feedback, reading the body in real time;
the possibility of self monitoring; instead of the sample being removed from
the body to be read, it remains part of the body. The testing process is
internalised rather than an external process.
- medical ethics debate and the cost of health care.
- relationship between humans and other animals, human rights through other
uses of implantable chips
- issues of surveillance or monitoring.
The three of us met when I was developing an installation in the foyer of
the Physics Building at Sydney University ( Images of that exhibition are on
my website - details below). That exhibition was part of a series of site
specific works I had made dealing with ideas of death an dying in a
medicalised setting. In particular the stories from the time my father was
dying in hospital in 2001. The taking of his blood samples for testing was
such a strong part of the daily routine that it became domesticated. Peter's
research project looking to replace that process raises so many interesting
issues. At this stage I am really interested in the ideas of economic and
cultural exchange and that is what I will be working on in Istanbul.
Any comments, ideas, suggestions etc appreciated.
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