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designMATTERS An exhibition curated by Fay Morrow.
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about; designMatters was born from the frustration of a common perception that art, design and creativity are non-essential luxuries within our education system. We passionately believe that creative minds should be not only supported, but signiďŹ cantly valued within the educational, professional and social environment. Our ethos is that creativity fuels progress, and design really does matter. designMatters aims to show the ways in which art and design can be used to communicate scientific discoveries, theories and new technologies. Working on the basis that without creative minds, science would not be able to develop and innovate; we need artists to conceptualise how new technologies and medical discoveries can be applied to our lives. Through this work, the organisation also aims to illustrate the importance of art and design education, opposing the government cuts to arts and humanities that are making creative degrees seem inaccessible to the majority. This message is communicated by sharing the work of students and practitioners from within the creative industry on the website/blog and in live events such as workshops, talks and exhibitions.
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The first designMatters event was a curated exhibition that took place in London from March 31st to April 2nd 2014. The aim was to increase awareness of the organisation, whilst also showcasing the work of artists who epitomise the designMatters concept - communicating or developing scientific theory via creative practice. The content of this exhibition focussed predominantly on medical advances and the ways that creative design allows for greater innovation in this area. This book visually documents the event, featuring images of the exhibition and from the private view. It also provides background information about all of the work included in the show.
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susan BEATTIE â€˜Loop Carpetâ€™ (2013)
An installation made from sheep intestine, sheep fleece and ox bung. Hypnagogic and hypnopompic phenomena can be experienced in the crack between the worlds that occurs at the edges of sleep. Ego boundaries loosen and the subconscious reaches over into everyday life. Images can become metaphors for concepts and embody feelings as much as thought. Responding to the intersection between hypnagogia, disease, anatomy and medicine; this work plays with the idea of the storytelling that is often woven into traditional textile items, to convey major life events.
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‘No Visible Signs’ (2014) A needle felted observation of a bowel tumour specimen from drawings made in a museum of pathology. The specimen came from a man in his 70’s who on initial examination ‘revealed no visible signs’ but a tumour was subsequently diagnosed through the use of imaging equipment. Although the cancer was excised and the patient initially seemed to making a good recovery, he suddenly became much weaker and died two weeks after the operation.
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‘Perspicillum: The Microbe and the Apothecary’ (2013-14) Influenced by lost traditions and techniques, Corlett’s most recent work investigates the history of science and medicine. Her current collection began with research into Apothecaries. Jessica would use herbal remedies and integrate them into practice; either through handmade paper, tinctures or creating tablets. With the invention of the microscope, medicinal practice was revolutionised. Jessica uses this pinnacle moment to juxtapose what would be today classed as ‘alternative’ and ‘orthodox’ medicine. Within the last year, the collection has turned to bio-chemistry and micro-biology. Using scientific processes, she creates real and imagined bacteria. The processes give random and chance outcomes to organic materials. She presents their effects upon the materials chosen as visual analytical data.
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â€˜The Hypersymbiont Dressâ€™ (2013) The Hypersymbiont Dress is stained with four different types of bacteria, including MRSA and Bacillus Calmette Guerin - a form of attenuated tuberculosis. The different bacteria each have varying characteristics that have been shown to affect certain functions, such as changing how we feel pain, enhancing cognitive function and increasing creativity. The dress thus draws attention to ways in which our own bacterial flora could be enhanced to turn us into human superorganisms, with improved appearances, improved health and even improved personalities. This work shows the ways in which the behaviour of bacteria can be shaped, and invites us to consider the potential risks and benefits.
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â€˜The Art and Science of Linenâ€™ (moving image, 2011) A video art work created by Anna Dumitriu in collaboration with artist Alex May and microbiologist Dr John Paul. The film looks at the whole ecology of linen production from the bacteria used to break down the flax in retting tanks, to the industrial production of linen and its cultural importance.
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â€˜Circumventive Organsâ€™ (2013) With the introduction of bioprinting the possibility of new organs is becoming a reality. The ability to replicate and print cells in complex structures could mean different cells with various functions could be put together in new ways to create new organs we would take millions of years to evolve naturally. Frankenstein-esque hybrid organs could then be put together using cells from different body parts or even different species. These three organs are designed as a way to kick-start the body to prevent death. Each organ is designed for a small demographic of people prone to a specific disorder, such as an organ that can thin your blood if there is a chance of having a stroke and an organ that can remove life threatening mucus from a cycstic fibrosis sufferer.
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â€˜Electrocardium Stabillisâ€™ (moving image, 2013) A surgical film imagining what it might be like to have this organ fitted. Electrocardium Stabillis acts like a biological defibrillator and contains cells from an electric eel.
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‘Beyond The Violet’ (moving image, 2012) Every day, between the 01 April and 17 December 2012, the artist made one cyanotype print marking one spin of the Earth on it’s axis, capturing sunlight on paper before the Earth was cast back in to shadow at night. These prints have been made into a stop-motion animation documenting the Earth’s movement during this timeframe. To create a cyanotype, paper is coated with Potassium Ferricyanide and Ferric Ammonium Citrate. When the paper is exposed to ultraviolet light (usually from the Sun), a chemical reaction takes place resulting in an insoluble blue dye know as “prussian blue”. If an opaque object is placed upon the paper, blocking sunlight, these parts of the paper will return back to white once the paper is developed. Essentially cyanotypes are light prints, bridging the gap between traditional printing methods and photography.
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‘The Apothecary’s Abacus’ (2013) Drawing on inspiration from the development and testing of pharmaceuticals, each of the many test tubes that form the Abacus is engraved with the name and date of a drug discovery, an industry regulator, piece of regulatory legislation or the name of a drug trial. The aim is simultaneously to open up possibilities for commemoration and for calculation of the impacts of this industry.
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‘Blood, Inverted’ (2010)
Inspired by medical imaging and the possibilities that science brings for making the invisible apparent, ‘Blood, Inverted’ consists of blood cells vastly magnified into cast glass forms that glow under focussed light. The intent is to represent the cells in a form both tactile and unthreatening.
‘Breathless’ (2013) An evocation of the internal made external. ‘Breathless’ was developed in response to debates about organ donation and transplantation; in this piece a glass heart and lungs sit on an X-ray image, removed from the body and placed instead into a wooden chest.
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â€˜Exoplanetologyâ€™ (2014) Realising the existence of exoplanets can create a very sublime sense of awe and perspective; recognition of our importance but also our insignificance in time. We have barely any photographic imagery of exoplanets that have been discovered, as the image is usually burnt out by light from the parent star. This work aims to bridge the gap between scientific data and art, providing an imagined visualisation of chosen exoplanets. While collecting the data relating to these planets, the artist finds herself subconsciously personifying them. Ultimately, we are all made of the same matter, every planet and every person. Through sequencing photographing constructed and spontaneous scenes, landscapes and subjects, this work aims to convey the subtle similarities between exoplanets and humans in poetic and scientific photography. Portrait credits: Stylist - Scarlett Giannotti Grooming - Chhimmi Gurung Model - Red @ Nevs Model Agency
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acknowledgments; ARTISTS Susan Beattie; www.susanbeattie.com Jessica Corlett; www.jessicacorlett.wix.com/artandphotography Anna Dumitriu; www.normalflora.co.uk Agi Haines; www.agihaines.com Melanie King; www.melaniek.co.uk Julie Light; www.julielightglass.co.uk Sophie Lobban; www.sophielobban.tumblr.com EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY Barry Morrow and Sophie Lobban GALLERY 5th Base Gallery Heneage Street London E1 5LJ www.5thbase.co.uk SPONSORED BY Cactus Jackâ€™s Schnapps & Jeeves Fruit Punch Intercontinental Brands (ICB) Limited 4 Sceptre House Hornbeam Square Hornbeam Business Park Harrogate HG2 8PB www.icbrands.co.uk
An exhibition curated by Fay Morrow www.becausedesignmatters.co.uk