Uncontrolled Hermetic

Authors: White, N.


Start date: 3 August 2003

Research funded by Gulbenkian Foundation. New work commissioned by Arts Council England with curators, Arts Catalst. Catalogue published by Arts Catalyst, London, essay by Alex Farqharson. The research followed on from an exhibition with Artlab at Imperial College, London in 2001, and a Bookworks publication ‘Ott’s Sneeze’ with Lawrence Norfolk in 2002, and further developed practice-led research inside biotech institutions and industry including; The Human Genome Mapping Project, Hinxton Cambridgeshire (1999) and Pfizer Research, Sandwich (2000) to develop new forms. Additional research took place at OLATS, Space Research Laboratory in Marseille, and Envair, a manufacturer of cleanroom technology in 2001-2. Uncontrolled Hermetic remodelled the activities and methods of the controlled areas or clean rooms used by scientists and manufacturers to conduct experiments and build specialist equipment. The visitor fulfils the final part of this system, as the contaminating or contaminated body, the weakest link in the ultraclean technology chain: a human being. The installation features a single life-size human figure 'bagged' in a bunny suit made of felt, and a part figure, consumed b an inflated spherical form. These figure stands outside an additional clean room, which houses a Victorian drawing machine that makes self-generated drawings. The exhibition had to engage high volume audiences, particularly at NHM (21,000 ), and to attract new audiences interested in interdiciplinary fields of art and science. The project extended ongoing strategies of work in highly technical environments in order to research the impact of technoscientific processes on production in the visual arts.

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