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kiraoreilly » photography

Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

egg and sequin kitchen session 30th January 2010 pt 3

Monday, February 1st, 2010




Posted in embryo, bioreactors, protein, chick embryo, tactile, sequins, eggs, punctum, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Touch, Non human animal, Biocraft, Bioart, tissue culture, photography, Bioarchitecture, cooking, DIY biotech, Events | No Comments »

webskin series : felt textures and textual feelings

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

webskin 9457

webskin 9493

webskin 9495

webskin 9500

webskin 9506

This is a small selection from the Webskin series. It is a development form the Finger webs which I did by myself when collecting webs and used my point and shoot camera.

For these Mel Grant and I visited a friend of Mels here in Birmingham, Laura Hunt who has a copious amount of spider webs in her garage.I wanted to see if I could improve on the Finger Webs series with the help of a better camera. I also wanted to try out placing webs between joints like my elbow.

All photographs taken by Melissa Grant.

IN a couple of emails I wrote

I rather like the girly delicacy of them - although I don’t want to make Cocteau Twins album covers - I don’t want to loose any bite!

I do like the suggestion of stocking tops, the hairs on my skin which mimic the hairs on the spiders and all of that stuff about hairy femininities, - you know how glossy and super airbrushed mainstream super femme body is, so I like the up too close and personal of the saggy skin of my body and the saggy skin of the webs on it.

Surfaces layers. it makes me think about an Oz based artist Paul Thomas talking about those covert spaces inbetween body and clothing. I like the idea of them being set against the profound beauty and implicit violence of the egg/embryo and the holding technologies of the cable ties. Like riffling though a private chest of drawers in someones bedroom and finding unexpected transmorgrifying indeterminant objects in the discreet domestic, maybe if Cronenburg met Angela Carter. We did the shoot at Mels’ friend Lauras’ who is a secondary school teacher. She is currently marking essays that touch on the gothic, so we were discussing Dracula and Angela Carter of whom she is a big fan (as am I). So it was rather lovely to have these literary conversations and references of the mutable and destabilised against the performing of those concepts.

I’m also reminded of the web being an extension of the spiders tactile zone, it’s delicate hairs sense the threads movements as they vibrate and move. The hairs on my arms function similarly but are amplified with the extreme delicacy of the webs and the cold that creates goose bumps and erect hair follicles. This working with layering and spanning on my own skin creates an extended meshing of these ideas of super fine touch and a distributed sense of self and selfing, both entirely responsive and entirely indivisible  from my environment. Felt textures and textual feelings  form a inter and intra mergings.

The punning on felt is another story. Mel, who is a great crafts person and makes alot of felt,  has suggested we try and create some felt with spider silk.

I posted these images onto Facebook where there is a very lovely circulation of thoughts, support and resonance between my work and that of UK based artist Liz Atkin, and US based academic, theorist and writer Eva Hayward and I.

Posted in textile, skin, spider webs, Materiality, cable ties, tactile, gothic, webs, silk, scatter shot reading actions, photography, Performance, live art, action, Touch, Biocraft & Edge Practices, spidersilk, spider, School of Biosciences residency | No Comments »

Waag VASTAL glvoebox shoot image

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Waag VASTAL glvoebox shoot

Jennifer Willet and Kira O’Reilly (2009). Photographer: Bernd Bohm.

With special thanks to Adam Zaretsky who conceived and realised the glovebox and initiated the invitation and opportunity for us to use it.  Thanks also to WAAG Society who supported and facilitated the venure:

My own very particular thanks to Jennifer who invited me to collaborate with her again on our second photographic series. She was also responsible for some of the fundraising that supported my visit to Amsterdam as was the case with our previous collaboration. Both situations emerged from a convergence of methods in our respective practices of similar visual and performative methodologies with respect to our presences and activities within the laboratory and the biosciences. But equally both methodologies have developed from somewhat different processes and discourses but with very similar sets of concerns. These lively convergences and divergences of thoughts, actions and language are largely what allow and create such a layered set of meanings in our brief encounters in the actual period of making. Several years of professional dialogue and friendship beginning whilst both artists in residence in SymbioticA and continuing despite very brief periods of actually seeing one another laid a foundation for these works. 

Posted in ecosystem, gardening, plants, photography, tissue culture, Bioart, Performance, live art, action, Pigs, Events | No Comments »

Lab shots & Shots through St Veronica’s Veil, camera obscurer

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

TC room St Veronica’s veil

TC room

TC room St Veronica’s veil

TC room

TC room St Veronica’s veil

TC room

Shots taken through the black dark room curtain that cloisters the window of the door of the ‘room of appearances’ or the tissue culture room that is part of Janet Smith’s lab and where I work.This room has been very carefully conceived and considered by Janet, it’s feel and tone altogether different from the other tissue culture labs I’ve been in.

St Veronica wiped the bloodied face of Christ on calvery, her veil took up his imprint and some centuries down the line, she became the patron saint of photography. The blackness of the darkroom curtain of course absorbs all light, all appearances, it cannot reflect back but is the negative and this case the occulting figure in the camera obscura (dark room), the obscurer. The play between light and dark, development and appearance often seems analogous to the appearance and development of the cultures that are cultivuated within - and to the technologies of appearance that are used to display and interpret cellular and molecular information. From microscopy, to histology staining, to western blots. Exploitations of lucida be it optical, objective, fluorescence, antibodies, bioluminescence. 

Posted in photography, cell culture | No Comments »

St Veronica thoughts

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

St Veronic thoughts

Posted in spidersilk, spider, webs, spider webs, textile, skin, Touch, Haptic, Biocraft, Bioart, writing, tissue culture, photography, 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 »

sk-interfaces : Casino Luxembourg

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

I will make a new version of inthewrongplaceness for the opening of sk-interfaces  at Casino Luxembourg, the action will be photographed and the documents will be exhibited in the space for the remainder of the exhibition.

26 September 2009 - 10 January 2010
(opening Friday 25 September 2009)

Art Orienté objet, Maurice Benayoun, Zane Berzina, Critical Art Ensemble, Wim Delvoye, Olivier Goulet, Eduardo Kac, Antal Lakner, Yann Marussich, Kira O’Reilly, Zbigniew Oksiuta, ORLAN, Philippe Rahm,  Julia Reodica, Donald Rodney, Stelarc, Jun Takita, The Office of Experiments, The Tissue Culture & Art Project, Sissel Tolaas, Paul Vanouse

Skin is our natural interface to the world – but it is progressively being replaced by technological extensions, some of which can have liberating, other rather new restrictive, effects. The trans-disciplinary exhibition SK–INTERFACES presents about 20 international artists who question the ways in which today’s techno-sciences alter our relation to the world: digital technologies, architecture, tissue cultures, transgenesis, self-experiments or telepresence – the artists appropriate these methods and explore the permeability between disciplines and between art and science. Their interfaces connect us with different species, destabilise our definition of being human today and reflect on the question of satellite bodies.

The exhibition SK–INTERFACES at Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain, curated by Jens Hauser, is the extended continuation of a project organised for the European Capital of Culture 2008 at the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) in Liverpool.

A number of performances will accompany the exhibition.
Curator: Jens Hauser
in collaboration with FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology) Liverpool

Posted in photography, cell culture, Touch, tissue engineering, skin, tissue culture, Non human animal, Bioart, Performance, live art, action, Ethics, Pigs, Events | 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 »

Wes’t - ǔrn - blät and Horseradish.

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

 In the lab I am surrounded by people spending allot of time in (wild, wild) Western Blot production, making smudgy representations that indicate the presence or absence of specific proteins with the help of antibody markers. Moving tiny amounts of colourless liquid around in the search of the miniscule sub cellular agents that are the nuts of bolts of molecular biology reuires serious attention to methods of detection and revelation.

See here for a great page on the ‘what is’ - skip the audio though, it’s wonderfully unhelpful.

The horseradish bit comes at the very end of the process, there’s an enzyme in the horseradish root called Horseradish peroxidase that allows for Enhanced Chemiluminescence - it generates light. It binds with the anitbody that binds to the protein you want to detect, the light is a signal - which can be developed - like a chemical photo - establishing a visual trace which can be read - to the consternation or delight of the scientist out there blotting in the lawless land of the west. I cannot help wondering if it’s the same tricky enzyme that blows the top of my head off when I eat the stuff neat with blood sausage - I just love it and have been moved to tears by it’s intensity, especially with blood sausage. I wish it was possible to buy the root in shops here in the UK rather than heavily diluted sauces, but I’m told it grows wild everywhere - I’ve yet to master recognising and harvesting it.  Actually a quick Wikipedia glance tells me that the crown blowing/sinus exlopsion substance is of course not the same enzyme, the herbivore defence effect is from Allyl isothiocyanate CHCH2NCS + KCl. Not to be deterred I see no harm in a bit of horseradish consumption before during and after a Western Blot protocol. It can’t hurt .(“I might as well spit in it,” I overhead one chap say when his blots refused to display the protein he was on the hunt for, and  it sure has a definite a lo-fi appeal  as a method for creating a visceral enzymatic intervention.)

Nowadays most of the stuff needed is bought commercially, in kits, or otherwise, commercially synthesised and acquired. However there was a time when alot more of these materials, antibodies for instance, would be developed in the lab, on one hand making things alot more time consuming, however it also meant that these practices and enquiries exisited outsde of commercial economies and their drivers. As Prof. Alaistair Strain put it, we “used to share stuff we made, not buy it”.

Posted in Horseradish, Molecular biology, photography, Biocraft | No Comments »


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