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STEM CELLS, REPORTAGE & PAPER

Forcing connections between a random art, science and material

 

I’ve been exploring the connections between stem cells, reportage and paper. I began by making my own paper to get a better understanding of the material, delving deep into stem cell research and documenting everything, through photos, notes, sketchbooks and in these drawings, inspired by images of neural stem cells taken by Alice Taylor.

 

2D

I am particularly interested in the idea of tiny stem cells making decisions that can then have ethical implications on a big scale. Using inks, water, pastels, various dispersion instruments and homemade paper I tried to examine how a tiny cell might make a decision, colour enables me to better understand these relationships.

 
 

Stem cells are not just one thing. They exist in our bodies in many different ways (we have put definitions onto them which don’t always fit, as we do with everything). They communicate with everything around them to differentiate into new types of cells that are needed (or maybe aren’t), it’s this potential that we interpret as hope for curing degenerative diseases but it can also lead to controversy. When I’ve reached a particular ethical problem that I can’t get round, I’ve started to draw and follow the patterns and shapes of connection, to go to the micro level where ethics are not an issue anymore.

 

Experimenting with enamel

Adding layers onto neural stem cell drawings with metallic powder that melts into enamel creating a 3D texture on the 2D surface

 

These are all works in progress, I’m building up layers to create neural networks and show the interactions of stem cells when they’re differentiating.

 
 

Future Ideas

While on one level these drawings are exploring stem cells and on another they are neural networks, they could also be mycelium networks in forests, entanglements of underwater creatures in coral reefs or water cycles among other things. I want to explore these biosemiotic connections between humans and non-humans on micro and macro scales, from tiny particles to the universe.