My research question for this course is the following:
How can I culture human embryonic stem cells and grow my own skin outside of my body?
The strict regulations around human tissue engineering leads me to thinking about the Visible vs. the Invisible skin.
I looked again at the recipes to see if i can find anything related to being invisible or not seen and i found this rather funny recipe for invisibility in Ashmole 1435-
Si vis esse inuisibile: accipe vnum canem mortuum et sepilles eum et plantes super eum fabus et vnam in ore tuo et sine dubio eris inuisibile
which translates to:
If you wish to be invisible: take a dead dog and bury it and plant a bean plant over it and place one in your mouth and without a doubt you will be invisible.
This made me question, How can i re-translate this ridiculous recipes?
My long term goal is to work at Brown’s Bio Lab and see how feasible it is to culture my own skin and how far can i take this. Due to the limited time frame, this project may take longer than the duration of this course but it is something i still want to pursue for my own studio practice.
My short term goal is to use the impossibility of this recipe as a strong point and use it to re-enact the invisibility as a performance. Looking at the role of the digital body in my own work, this makes me think of a digital book reenactment – Rewriting language, duration, imagery and iconography.
Currently i am in the middle of story boarding this short story and looking at different contemporary characters that could be cast as the main leads..
Please follow my collaborative thesis account @risdglassfml as the work will be within the same spirit..
I did not expect to see a dream-like quality to my recipe. The images seen under the microscope were moody, dreamy and have a very different feel to the sample.The sample looked medical. Like a swab was taken to be tested for something. The microscope definitely changed that. Especially with the black background and dark blue hues that came out.
It was interserting to transform some of the qualities and play around with scale. Deception of an image almost. How big/ small is my material?
Same images but when flipped around look like clouds in the sky. They really give a sense of a vast space and continuation. Even with a simple play on literal scale. From medium to large.
I always knew that our bodies are miraculous but also limited. Going Mirco definitely allowed my material to show its depth and detail. It still looked fleshy and shiny which is great that some of these elements were still there.
It also made me think about what other tools can i use to manipulate a small sample size? How much inward can i go with my work? is DNA and stem cells next? What else can i micro my body?
Lighting as well was an unexpected element that really manipulated the image. This i tried with the sleeping pills. Same image, different lighting.
Reading some of the specific and obscure instructions of Giambattista della Porta’s How to’s in his Book Natural Magick I immediately wanted to replicate and translate his instructions.
Some instructions that i found interesting for various reasons:
How can I replicate these random instructions yet translate them into a new understanding of today? A humorous and performative aspect runs through the book which later made sense when I discovered that Giambattista was an established playwright with over 20 plays comprising in 14 comedies.
Always starting with the immediate body I decided to make a concoction of my own. Small portions of the following:
I plan on magnifying this concoction in the Nature Lab and seeing what comes up and where to take it forward? Looking at the body in the same way as this book. How many concoctions can I come up with? Can I harvest these concoctions? Do they have a clear purpose such as Giambattista’s recipes? Taking the inward and translating it in a way that responds to today. What tones will that have? Will it have an agenda? What kind of language will it use? How loud or subtle is its sound? Does it use a specific font?
Looking closely at his choice of embellishments. All with a clear sense of symbolism.
A slight de-tour from the above but still on point.. I came across a recipe for Glass-Ceramic-
I started thiking about the micro.. Possibly an intervention on a property of a material could be interesting.. Not sure what and how just yet.. but something to ponder on..