Printmaking in the post-print age: critical and creative methods in the context of contemporary art and society

Printmaking in the post-print age: critical and creative methods in the context of contemporary art and society
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Conference contribution

 

IMPACT9: International Print Conference – Printmaking in the Post-Print Age – Hangzhou, China

 

Abstract
The collaborative processes between artist/ printmaker and scientists is the subject of my proposed paper and the topic for discussion for the Impact 9 Conference in Hangzhou 2015. In 2006, I undertook a collaborative art-science research project with scientists from the Scottish Crop Research Institute (now the James Hutton Institute), entitled Blueprint for Bacterial Life. Using advanced digital tools I developed the concept of their Genome Diagram into a multimedia interactive installation with animations and music based on the genetic plasticity and evolution of bacterial pathogens. I began by creating a series of etchings and screen-prints using a very subtle range of silvery blues and greys and worked with some specific inks known as interference inks. It was through looking at those prints that the scientists noticed the occurrence of new elements and a very specific event of gene acquisition. By simplifying the diagram into a tonal variation and re-contextualizing the data it revealed information that the scientists had completely overlooked. Their scientific approach to the data was systematic and empirical. By chance, this artistic re-interpretation of the scientific data contributed to a new insight. Rather than simply identifying genes unique to a pathogen, the screen-prints revealed the presence of other genes in all of the bacteria, possibly representing genes essential to all forms of bacteria.