It was published in 2009 in Studies in Theatre and Performance, Volume 29, No 3 by Intellect.
Archive for the ‘Blood’ Category
The Adam Zaretsky conceived and realised Vivo Arts School for Transgenic Aesthetics Ltd. Stills taken during the series of actions made in the V.A.S.T.A.L. Glovebox, at Waag and Stedelijk museum Bouwkeet on tour 2009
The VASTAL Virginarium is a six person Glove Box artistically designed by Adam Zaretsky and Mason Juday for Bioart Laboratories and public performances, which revolve around cultural interpretive issues of purity, sterility and cleanliness. Much like a sterile hood used in biology for pure culture technique, this glove box has Positive air pressure.
The VASTAL Virginarium Is a Collaborative Cultural Containment Stage For:
Sterile Field Inter-Public Body Art Performances
Various performance artists will be ritually cleansed and enter the Glove Box one or two at a time. Various performance artists take turns in the box interacting with the public or other actors reaching into them with the gloves. This is experimental Body Art with a Biological theme that references experiments, lab animals, the pure and the impure as well as the distance (or presumed distance) that objectivity implies. A glove box is a techno-purified place, but as an artistic/creative aseptic arena, the VASTAL Virginarium is purely for cultural production. It represents a return to ourselves as animals, experiments, faulty and in disarray but also as changeable and in process.
There is ultimately no absolute chastity or true cleanliness, passage is from one form to another into another again. But, through emulation of purification and altered versions of artistic isolation we will try to help garnish public acceptance of the imperfectability of living in this uterine world.
Adam Zaretsky and Mason Juday
The artists brought together by Adam Zaretsky were:
Here is a beautiful little video of blood cells forming. It’s part of a general circulation of ideas that are being provoked here in the residency at the School of Biosciences. I came across whilst reading an article in The Scientist about how physical, mechanical forces contribute to blood cell formation. The beat of the heart helps form blood stem cells. This relationship between physical force and cell development is something Janet has also spoken about regarding muscle cell forming. Janet suggested we look at patch clamping which I’d never heard of before but effectively it allows an electrical current to be measured. Here and here are other links to articles about it.
This is also the case with muscle cell formation. I was reminded of a conversation with Adam Zaretsky whilst in Mexico during which he suggested putting muscle cell culture under physical stresses, or in his words, get them to do yoga - knowing that I am a regular yoga practitioner. So I’m reviving that idea in conversations with Janet. It reminds me of other kinds of stress forces artists and scientists have worked with, including Adam who trialed the Humperdink Effect caused by playing Engelbert Humperdink to bacteria for two days.
The patch clamp thinking also came whilst talking about working with muscle and gold. I’m interested to work with gold and cell culture and have been for a while. Mel Grant and I hope to place gold particles into fat cells and I wondered about culturing muscle onto gold. Mel sent me this paper on embedding particles within cells without disrupting their membranes. And colloidal gold.
The culturing onto gold has been stirring for a while, I had a discussion with Cait, a PhD candidate in chemical engineering who is culturing e-coli onto gold, also I took a look at Paul Thomas’ Midas Project in which he cultures skin cells onto gold. Here is a paper on culturing skeletal muscle cells onto a gold surface. The paper identifies the applications for tissue engineering and architectures between the conductive organic and non organic materials.
The gold fat cell project makes a play between metaphors and materials, preciousness and scale. One possible cell type to use is the cell line: 3T3 L1, derived from 3T3, fibroblasts, or connective tissue. It’s an adipose like cell line, or a fat like cell, a model as it were. Fat cells can also be developed from muscle stem cell, there is a molecular switch that can cause the developmental cascade of a myoblast (muscle stem cell) on a muscle cell formation pathway (myogenic) to switch to a fat cell pathway (adipogenic).
Here’s a reverse view and anti fat application>
What often happens when I’m in the School of Biosciences is that I get lots of tiny bits of wonderful information, quick and concise lectures on molecular biology, genetics, developmental biology, anatomy biochemistry etc. that I partially understand but have no real context for. The good thing about that is it allows me to dance with allot of ideas, the obvious shortcoming is that I have no mastery of any of these knowledges. I grab bits of information from conversations and papers, and from practical work in the lab, which I never do enough of but I potter along with nonetheless. The discussions get cut up with references to books in particular, films and art works. For example Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman, his idiosyncratic scientist De Selby who’s experiments occupy a subtext of pages of footnotes, Alfred Jarry and paterphysics, Angela Carter, Laurence Sterne, Marina Warner, Alice Oswald, Judith Butler, Joan Roughgarden, Walter Benjamin and the list goes on.