A third of the food produced in the world today goes to waste. There are several causes, one of which is the culling of perfectly edible and nutritious food in order to meet high industry and consumer standards of size, color, weight and blemish level. According to a recent report, up to 40% of fruit and vegetable crops in Britain don’t make it to store shelves because they are deemed too ‘ugly’. Our obsession with appearance is manifesting in our eating habits – and like fashion and cosmetics, industrial production is engineering our food to be artificially ‘perfect’ and bland, rather than naturally rich in look and taste.
A Fine Line is a dining set – half of it has been mass produced, finely cut and given a sleek finish. The other half grew organically from a mix of mushroom mycelium and wood waste, the texture and colour of the resulting structure being nature’s design. The line between industry and nature crosses between them – and on our plates.
I am interested in the fact that we are made of many things, many parts and many types of parts. These parts live side-by-side, working together, sometimes competing, sometimes ignoring each other. At the SVA residency, I focused on the non-human part of ourselves: the human microbiome. My background is painting, and in this project, I focused on using the microbiome itself as paint as way of creating different self-portraits.
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This series explores the implications of navigating new environments while in a state of travel on varying organizational levels. The jarring disorientation of spaces alien to previous experience, especially space constructed from fragments of said experiences, often leads to endless repetition, erratic attempts to avoid the unknown, or paralysis while internal functions attempt to continue progression. Through the placement of microscopic organisms found in water samples on the floors of the NYC subway within new environments constructed on a minute scale, these works shed light on the analogous patterns that exist between the interactions microorganisms have with new environments and the unconscious state of becoming humans exist in while traveling from place to place.
Microscopic Chamber #1, 2013
Variable dimensions, mixed media (laser, water, mirror, aquarium, pipettes, bee wax, etc.
Millions of other living entities surround us all the time and are vital to our well being and also for life in the natural environment. However they exist in such a mode of being that not only many of their behaviour escape human perception, but their presence all together.
Using optics techniques, a droplet of water becomes a lens magnifying this amazing biodiversity of microorganisms presented inside this water droplet when beamed by a laser pointer, creating a microscope-live-cinema installation for the audience.
This work is a step further in a research about the huge biodiversity of microorganisms which lives in water as phytoplankton, copepods, diatoms, algae, etc, which will be used to develop the next work titled Symbiotic Machine.
An artist working at the intersection of arts and science, I intend to create Art and Science collaborations that bring New Forms of Life from ‘the Real’ through physical representation. This is usually resulting in a methodology that generates unrepeatable transformation. With society’s imperative need to move from an object base, commercial and material use culture to a sustainable, ecologically concerned, object-less culture, I reflect on the death of the object in art history, museology and quite literally the actual process of object decay. I question how we move from this practice of collection and taxonomy to another system of knowledge and understanding, that can possibly be stored virtually or in ways we cannot conceive at present.