Artist’s Inspiration: Niki Sperou
In the Domestic + Science exhibition, familiar objects are transformed into cultural and scientific signifiers via interaction, context and metaphor. The domestic is about access. The empirical act of categorising the world around us is an act of domestication. It is human interaction and communication which is of importance.
The blog Art and Biotechnology: When art looks into science, The rest is art provides some background information for those new to the ‘art and science’ genre. The author makes reference to some established ideas in this field.¹ In particular that art and science have both emerged from “the rituals of everyday living” and the human desire to know and understand. Of importance are issues of access to scientific institutions, the growing need for a greater understanding of new technological advancements and the communicative and reflective aspect of art practice. The intention however is not that art should illustrate or serve science. The aim is to create a dialogue between the arts, sciences and the broader community.
Ethnographica is an example of my earlier work in which the concepts of art and science are brought together to reveal the political, ethical and cultural implications of domestication. The work alludes to the hierarchical structures between formal and informal institutions, the arts and sciences, cultures and gender.
Further insight into the reading of the work is provided in this review by Jemima Kemp.
In order to make science more accessible to those outside of formal institutions I have presented biotechnology workshops for artists and curious others. These took place at the Flinders University Department of Medical Biotechnology in association with staff and students. Further to these, I also presented a Do-It-Yourself version of the workshops in the sculpture studio at the Fine Arts Faculty, Skopje, Macedonia, as part of SAEFair 2011. Where necessary we repurposed domestic appliances and materials to take the place of laboratory equipment. DIY is a form of resistance which allows access beyond formal perimeters.
The following video was made by one of the workshop participants. The inclusive and informal atmosphere was significant.
Please note that occupational health and safety was important and no eating took place in this makeshift lab.
1 M Pandilovski Ed, Art in the Biotech Era, Experimental Art Foundation, 2008. For a comprehensive guide to biotech art I suggest the above catalogue produced in South Australia which contains texts from over 20 international experts in this genre.