Medicine is being transformed by new technology – genetic engineering, robotics, new materials and informatics. But many of us feel ambivalent about these changes. Technology is both progress and a threat. Laboratory Life addresses this ambivalence by creating a unique, interactive art-science laboratory, open to the public.
Conceived and led by artist Andy Gracie, a group of international artists and scientists from the UK, Spain and the US will be working with young doctors, scientists and emerging artists, to create a series of projects exploring the cutting edge of medical technology in a living laboratory at Lighthouse in Brighton.
What makes this project unique is its open nature. Most laboratories are closed to the public, and we have little idea of what goes on inside them. But Laboratory Life is adopting a radically open structure, inviting the public to come and visit the laboratory, meet the artists and scientists as they’re working, and discuss what they are doing.
Visitors are welcome any afternoon between 1200 – 1800. Visitors will meet artists Andy Gracie, Adam Zaretsky, Kira O’Reilly, Bruce Gilchrist, and Anna Dumitriu. They will be working in close collaboration with scientists, John Paul (Health Protection Agency), Helen Smith (Brighton & Sussex Medical School), and Tom Shakespeare (World Health Organisation).
Joining them are sixteen exceptional young doctors, scientists and emerging artists, Sarah Roberts, Brian Degger, Melissa Grant, Kate Genevieve, Simona Casonato, David Louwrier, Daksha Patel, Kuiashen Auson, Janine Fenton, Meredith Walsh, Valerie Furnham, Columba Quigley, Genevieve Maxwell, Zack Denfield, Helen Bullard and Simon Hall.
Laboratory Life is inspired by the Interactivos? production workshop model, developed by Medialab Prado in Madrid. The title of the project – Laboratory Life – is taken from the title of Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar‘s well-known book of the same name, which is an anthropological study of a scientific laboratory.
Exhibition – http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/whatson/laboratorylifeex.htm
The artists and scientists will create five art-science projects which will be the basis of a fascinating exhibition at Lighthouse, featuring DNA tattooing, astrobiology, microbiological textiles and much more which is open to the public 2-6 March 2011, as part of Brighton Science Festival.
Talk – http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/whatson/laboratorylife.htm
On 3 March, Andy Gracie, Kira O’Reilly and Anna Dumitriu will speak about their experiences of taking part in the Lab, and will discuss the process of making work using biomedical technology.
Forum – http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/whatson/laboratorylifeforum.htm
On 5 March, Lighthouse hosts a public forum, where the public can debate the role of new technology in medicine.
About the Lead Artists
Anna Dumitriu is an artist who’s installations and performances use a range of digital and biological media to blur the boundaries between art and science. Her project at Laboratory Life is Infective Textiles
– a series of microbiological textile artworks.
Bruce Gilchrist is one half of London Fieldworks, an art collective who explore ecology as a complex inter-working of social, natural, and technological worlds. His project, Public Misunderstandings of Science, explores our relationship with scientific information.
Andy Gracie works with robotics, sound, video and biology to create exchanges between natural and artificial systems. His project The Quest for Drosophila titanus is an astrobiological experiment.
Kira O’Reilly employs performance, biotechnical practices and writing consider speculative ideas around the body. her project, The Garden Shed Lab is a DIY creative space using yeasts, eggs and plant tissues.
Adam Zaretsky is an artist who’s radical practice encompasses biology, ecology, biotechnology, live art and gastronomy. His project, Tattoo Traits, explores the feasibility of tattooing our DNA.