Laura Splan: Entangled Entities
Through Mar 26, 2021
Curated by Michael Dickins
Catalog Essay by Hannah Star Rogers
"Entangled Entities" includes new and recent work that examines interspecies entanglements in the contemporary biomedical landscape. Drawing upon artifacts of biotechnological modes of production ranging from machines to animals, the work explores the expanded industrial apparatus that intertwines science and culture. The installation situates images of the coronavirus, among other artworks that incorporate artifacts of non-human species who are used for antibody production for human vaccines. The exhibition features a new multi-channel animation from the Unraveling series created using molecular visualization software and SARS-CoV-2 protein models. The animation is accompanied by an immersive soundscape inspired by the coronavirus genetic sequence. A series of networked laboratory mixers are activated by social media activity relating to the contested status of science. A data-driven fan adjusts based on the wind conditions at a biological laboratory in rural Pennsylvania. A rug made from the hand-spun wool of laboratory llamas and alpacas invites viewers to sit while listing to a voyeuristic sound collage of recordings made in a biotech laboratory. Together, these artworks destabilize notions of the presence and absence of bodies, evoking the mutability of categories that delineate their status, unpacking constructions of self and other. The themes in Entangled Entities, including viruses, vaccines, and interconnected systems, are especially timely in this unique moment of the COVID-19 pandemic, framing complex biomedical issues with provocations of curiosity and wonder. (laurasplan.com/entangled-entities-exhibition)
Laura Splan (laurasplan.com) is a transdisciplinary artist working at the intersections of science, technology, and culture. Her research-driven projects connect hidden artifacts of biotechnology to everyday lives through embodied interactions and sensory engagement. Her conceptually based art practice combines a wide range of media including experimental materials, digital media, and craft processes. Her biomedical themed artworks have been commissioned by The Centers for Disease Control Foundation and Davidson College. Her projects combining digital fabrication and textiles have been exhibited at the Museum of Arts & Design and Beall Center for Art + Technology and are represented in the collections of the Thoma Art Foundation, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the NYU Langone Art Collection. Her widely acclaimed lace viruses including SARS and HIV (2004) have been exhibited and published around the world. Reviews and articles including her work have appeared in The New York Times, Discover Magazine, Hyperallergic, American Craft, and Frieze. Splan has received research funding from The Jerome Foundation and her residencies have been supported by The Knight Foundation, The Institute for Electronic Arts, Harvestworks, and The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. She has been a visiting lecturer at Stanford University teaching interdisciplinary courses including “Embodied Interfaces”, “Data as Material” and “Art & Biology”. She is currently a Creative Science member at NEW INC, the New Museum’s cultural incubator.