jueves, 17 de octubre de 2019

Binding Art and Science, a Journey through Drug Design

Group picture. From left to right: Neus Torres Tamarit, 
Dr Christelle Soudy, Bea Haynes, and Ben Murray
Binding Art and Science is a workshop developed in collaboration with Dr Christelle Soudy (Francis Crick Institute), artist Bea Haynes, data scientist Ben Murray, and myself (Ben and I as Phenotypica).
The workshop responds to Soudy's research in drug design for cancer research. 

The objective of the workshop was to use Soudy's lab equipment to do the research, as a metaphor for the designed drug, and the public would have to construct the tumor cell around it. To make the tumor cell, we took the sequence of aminoacids of a real cancerous cell, that Soudy has already worked with, printed it onto paper and cut into sequences. 

The real aminoacids are similar in shape, so we made five groups that were representative of those, we assigned them geometrical shapes, and we cut on the CNC pieces of foam with those shapes.
In the workshop, people took a sequence printed on paper, select the aminoacid shapes on foam, write the aminoacid letter on the foam using a fluorescent pen and assemble them using toothpicks.  

Workshop instructions

We presented the workshop at the Crick Late on March 2019 at The Francis Crick Institute and it was a great success! Some participants made two sequences of the same; one for the collective installation and one to take home with them!

sábado, 1 de septiembre de 2018

Upcoming exhibition from 20 September to 21 December 2018 - London

Thrilled to be exhibiting at the Grant Museum of Zoology, one of the oldest zoology museums in the UK! https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/whats-on/agonism-antagonism

In Darwin’s world of ‘survival of the fittest’, what happens when evolution affects genders differently?

Agonism / Antagonism is an exhibition resulting from artist Neus Torres Tamarit’s residency in the laboratory of Dr Max Reuter, in the Research Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment at UCL, and part of a long-term collaboration with computer scientist Ben Murray.

Dr Reuter and his team use fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to conduct research into the evolution of sexual antagonism: a genetic tug of war between the sexes. The different needs of the genders within a sexually reproducing species inevitably result in this phenomenon, where what is best for one gender may be actively detrimental for the other.
On the surface, this process may seem problematic for the species, but research increasingly seems to suggest that sexual antagonism is an inevitable and ultimately necessary step in the quest for fitness.

Come and explore these ideas, presented through a range of media including sculpture, installation and digital animations.
Virtual reality events:
There will also be opportunities to further explore the animated worlds presented in the exhibition through interactive virtual reality on the following dates at both the Grant Museum and the nearby North Lodge. These drop-in events are free:

miércoles, 30 de mayo de 2018

Phenotypica at the Slime event, Institue of Making, UCL, London

We had the pleasure of taking part in the last Festival of Stuff Saturday Extravaganza event at the Institute of Making, at UCL, the past Saturday 24th of March 2018.

Slime was an event about polymers, and our stand was called ‘Art from Polymers: Bioplastic, DNA and Fruit Fly Cocoons’, the three polymers that inspire our artistic practice. We had exhibited two artworks; a video artwork, result of the initial period of Neus’ residency at the Reuter Laboratory at UCL, in which microscopy videos of bioplastic and fruit flies cocoons get decontextualized by the macro view and the constantly changing focal plane (https://vimeo.com/255299709). The other artwork was ‘Incubator for Twin Lifeforms’, an installation inspired by the formation of the pupae, and lots of bioplastic samples that people could manipulate.

We were also cooking bioplastic live and visitors were very engaged with the process, wanting to know more about what each ingredient does. They were leaving our stand inspired by our artworks, with a freshly cooked bioplastic sample, and wanting to experiment with bioplastic themselves!

The event had approximately 4056 visitors; we didn’t stop making bioplastic, talking about its polymer nature, how it links to DNA and fruit flies cocoons and how we make artworks with and draw inspiration from the three of them, and having interesting chats with people. Certainly a great day!

lunes, 7 de mayo de 2018

Phenotypica at the Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London, March 2018

We had the great opportunity to exhibit our digital interactive installation Biomorpha (Evolving Structures) at the Affordable Art Fair from the 8th to the 11th of March.
Biomorpha explores the dramatic evolutionary pressure that can be caused by a sudden change in a species’ environment. An organism that is well adapted to a relatively stable environment can stay largely unchanged for millions of years. In a continuously changing environment, a species can undergo dramatic changes in a relatively short time, as there is a high potential for mutations that help it to survive in the new environment. This changes happen over a large period of time that is not perceptible for humans in real time.
In Biomorpha, the audience is the evolutionary pressure whom are tracked by a Kinect sensor when entering Biomorpha’s environment. The digital organism mutates at an accelerated pace, in order to adapt to the new environment that the audience is creating for it. 

Audience interacting with Biomorpha at the Affordable Art Fair, March 2018. Picture by Guy Bell.
For this exhibition we introduced a new feature in the software that would capture all the shapes resulting of the interaction with the audience, as a material for further artworks.

Mother and son interacting with Biomorpha. Affordable Art Fair, March 2018.

We had a great amount of audience of a wide range of ages interacting with our digital organism, and it was a great experience to have the artwork installed in the centre of the fair, surrounded by international galleries.

Ben Murray installing Biomorpha (Evolving Structures). Affordable Art Fair, March 2018.
Technically, we chose a more simplified set up to install Biomorpha, according to the specification of the exhibiting space that we were allocated. We had two entrances to the installation and we also installed a vinyl floor.

Neus Torres Tamarit having a closer look at Biomorpha during their interaction. Affordable Art Fair, March 2018. Picture by Guy Bell.