Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

egg and sequin kitchen session 30th January 2010 pt 2

Monday, February 1st, 2010








Posted in embryo, stuff, Materiality, Matter, chick embryo, tactile, home, sequins, eggs, punctum, skin, bioreactors, Ethics, Cake, architecture, Bioart, Food, cooking, protein, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Touch, Bioarchitecture, Events | No Comments »

cable ties & spider silk

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

cable ties with web threads

cable ties with web threads

structure made from cable ties and garden spider (araneus diadematus) silk spinnings in a confined space.

Posted in spider webs, textile, cable ties, spidersilk, Biocraft & Edge Practices, architecture, Bioarchitecture, School of Biosciences residency | No Comments »

Finger webs

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

These are recordings of small actions of trying to capture spider webs between my fingers to create connections between my skin, it’s topography and the silken structures. I was also thinking about gaps, bridges, spannings, attachments. Alot of nothing and alot of something.

Finger webs  Finger webs

Finger webs  Finger webs

Finger webs  Finger webs

Finger webs  Finger webs

Finger webs  Finger webs

I took the photos of my left hand with my right hand with my trusty point and shoot Canon A480 & I haven’t done anything except crop them. 

Another person taking the photos with an SLR - and some delicate photoshoping would improve the precision of viewing the filigree threads attachments to the skin terrains.

However I’m pleased with them as small performative enquiries that allow me to move between scale, different focus, orientations and notions of body. These actions very particularly work with touch and the felt as well as sight. There is a way of trying to see spider webs when hunting for them, a slight defocusing of the eyes onto a nearer plane in the search for the giveaway glints and catches of light that betray the almost but not quite invisible presence of fresh gossamer.

Posted in silk, spidersilk, spider, webs, spider webs, textile, walking, skin, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Touch, architecture, Performance, live art, action, Bioart, Biocraft, Non human animal, Bioarchitecture, photography, School of Biosciences residency | No Comments »

spider web collecting

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

I’ve been collecting wild webs from in between rails and bringing them back to the lab in preperation for another cycle of tissue culture.

My methodology is crude to say the least, but it works. I’m using cable ties to make loops that I capture the frames with. I’ve also invited anyone else to collect webs and to send them to me, so if you’d like to contribute, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

cable ties  railings 

cable ties with web threads  railing web

On one of the webs I accidentally caught a spider which I was unsuccessful in releasing

spider  spider

spider   spider


 The next stage will be to sterilise them and then to decide how best to culture onto them and which cells. Most likely I’ll try to culture each cell line individually onto the silks and then some co-cultures.

Perhaps some in liquid media and some on agar.

We’re also going to make some biopsies from chick embryos and tissue culture with them, possibly onto the silks.

Posted in silk, spidersilk, spider, tissue engineering, webs, textile, spider webs, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Bioarchitecture, Biocraft, architecture, Bioart, Non human animal, tissue culture, DIY biotech, cell culture, School of Biosciences residency | No Comments »

web works

Friday, August 28th, 2009

These two images were taken of 5 mm glass cover slips dropped carefully onto webs inside a rotten tree trunk. The idea of installing cover slips into web structures was inspired by versions that Mel Grant initiated and made last year. Mel suggested trying this method to see if the spider would create further silken threads on or around the cover slips. More than anything I found the combination of glass and silk thread elements and structures fascinating.



Posted in spider, spidersilk, silk, webs, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Bioarchitecture, Bioart, architecture, Biocraft, Non human animal, School of Biosciences residency | No Comments »


Thursday, August 27th, 2009


web 0283

lace 0414

 The upper image is a large web made in Cultivamos Cultura in August this year.

The lower image is a large piece of Venetian lace from the 17th century from the Whitworth Art Gallery’s textile collection.


The lace piece had several rips and repairs in it’s ground, one repair which can be seen here in the bottom left. These damaged ares and repairs across the collection appear like wounds, scarbs and scars,  the altered darned textures of the lace stand out like the altered architecture of wound tissue in skin. I wondered about returning to the collection and making an investigation of these wounds and scars in the textiles.

Of course the etymology of textile and tissue is the latin L. textura “web, texture, structure,” from stem of textere “to weave,” from PIE base *tek- “to make”, tek being the route of techné - technique, technology.

Posted in spidersilk, spider, webs, spider webs, textile, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Bioarchitecture, Bioart, architecture, Biocraft, Non human animal, School of Biosciences residency | No Comments »

Webs & farm fountain : Cultivamos Cultura : Portugal, Aug 09

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Last week I made a short visit to Cultivamos Cultura  in the Alentejo region of Portugal. It’s a new initiative that has been  created by Portuguese artist Marta de Menezes and scientist Luis Graca towards fostering and developing shared knowledges in science, technology and contemporary art.

 My brief visit was to get a flavour of the place and it’s possibilities so that I can make a more protracted visit next year.

The main building has several outhouses attached to it which have laid disused for some time, so a glorious collection of spider webs have accumulated. I became fascinated by the webs and took many photos some of which you can see here.

web grid 03 crop b


Farm Fountain

US artists Ken Renaldo and Amy Young made the centres an inaugeral residency for two weeks and within that time created this wonderful sculpture and installation Farm Fountain, images of which you can see here.

It’s a circuit of different living systems around the stucture of a fountain. A solar powered pump  circulates water up from the pond and into the grid of plants. The water is used by the plants and also filtered through the terracotta beads in the plant containers desceneding through the plant grid and back into the fish pond.

On their Flickr site they write:

Farm Fountain was started in our studio 2 years ago as an indoor ecosystem and local food production artwork that we hope others will reproduce. Info and instructions for the home version are available online at

When I visited Marta topped up the plants, as the weather was so terrifically hot the system requited some human help. There were some great red chillis growing and a fragrant and delicious chocolate mint.

farm fountain small

Posted in webs, silk, spider webs, ecosystem, plants, gardening, spidersilk, spider, Biocraft, architecture, Food, Bioarchitecture, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Bioart | No Comments »

reclothing stripped down hearts and another bioreactor

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

An article in New Scientist, Hybrid Hearts Could Solve Transplant Shortage.

 rat heart profusion

rat heart stripped of it’s cells and ‘reclothed’ with stem cells from another rat.

 or a re-celled rat’s heart (Image downloaded from the New Scientist site and courtesy of the University of Minnesota)

This is a bioreactor profusion pump.

I’m utterly seduced by how incredibly beautiful this image is - and the  engineering. The procedure sounds like one similar to ‘Claudia’s tachea‘, except that the trachea was from a human donor - and implanted into a human called Claudia. The idea of non human animal = virtually limitless supply is fraught with difficulty from my point of view.

See the video here.

These images really do fulfill a kind of contemporary gothic, fueled by biotech anxieties.  The image has strong resonances of photographic representations of TC &A’s Victimless Leather whose framing, lighting and installing deliberately invoke a simimilar gothic aesthetic but one that is deployed in radically different directions. Victimless Leather asks profoundly provocative questions that assume nothing in reagrad to the use and coption of living bodies and materials as resourse, it both sets up and dismantles utopian dreams of that appropriation of life can ever exist outside of power chains that exploit one way or another - depending where on the food chain you are.

But I also wanted to put this image up a a great example of a bioreactor. Here is the Victimless Leather one as well.


Victimless Leather 01



Posted in DIY biotech, photography, Bioarchitecture, bioreactors, tissue engineering, stem cells, cell culture, tissue culture, Non human animals, architecture, Ethics, Pigs, Non human animal, Bioart | No Comments »

speaking of bioreacters

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

When researching art works that use fat for the previous entry I remembered INCUBRA, and it’s take on creating convivial environments of cell cultures.


INCUBRA, Fiannaca/Versparget, 2007

 INCUBRA exploits the body’s natural 37 degree temperature - which of course in vitro bodies require as much as incorporated ones. I’m not sure how they did the CO2 though. Perhaps they didn’t. It has to be the most glamerous wearable lab kit I’ve ever seen.

Posted in Bioarchitecture, Touch, fat, DIY biotech, cell culture, architecture, tissue culture, Bioart | No Comments »

unconcious tag and unknown knowns

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Dear F,

This did begin as a thank you email for great book recommendations . . . my index of lostness and unfathoming continues to take me on some gorgoeus wordy travels.

Once again Solnit has taken me towards more treasures which with a little digging include, it might be A Field Guide to Getting Lost but there are treasure maps a plenty available, I guess all good treasure yarns include a few juicy ‘lost’ chapters. She quotes Zizek countering Rumsfield wonderfully about the unknown knowns, which she and he ring within that fabulous notion of ‘the unconscious’. When I was in Australia listening to the altruistic motivations of fellow technoscientific artists in resident at SymbioticA, all I think from ‘new worlds’ (and feeling hugely admiring of their intents) I became acutely ware of my relationship to this unknown and perhaps fictional terrain of the unconscious. I didn’t necessarily buy it as any kind of reality but so far from Europe I became aware of felt a deep affinity with it and it’s shaping of some kind of me - associated with the Western European geographic/cultural location. The unconscious - as Jung said on some telly program I caught a moment of in Ireland, is precisely that, unconscious. My own bioartistic motivations felt (before even words could describe them) neurotic, dark, something from the cellar, dremt, unformed (formless?), and undefined - or differentiated from incorporated gut entrenched unknowing known.

So I dug up the entire Zizek article that has this fabulous opening line:

“If you want to understand why the Bush administration invaded Iraq, read Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, not the National Security Strategy of the United States.”
Zizek, Iraq’s False Promises

So I’m heading back to Lacan some day and why not. There’s fun to be had with them fellows. Navigations between language and syncope, under and over, making room for strangeness.

But also Solnit must be about the same age as us, there’s post punk, post industrial aesthetic that’s given to intricate literary grace but also a kind of recognised sensibility of body - text relationship that I wonder about and whether it is generational. I don’t know. I’m curious.

Love to you,


Posted in unconcious, Haptic, archeology, Anthropology, architecture | No Comments »


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