Seeds of Life, Under My Skin, & Birth of the Blues, Installation, 2006
The new Life Science and Engineering building at Boston University was completed in 2005. The ten floor building of 187,000 gross square feet is located at 24 Cummington Street, Boston, between Cummington Street and the Massachusetts Turnpike. The building houses a group of scientific disciplines and has been created to increase the university's capacity for interdisciplinary research. The building is one of a unique few in the country that has been created to encourage interdisciplinary research by arranging researchers according to research interests, rather than departmental affiliation. It is the intention to have biologists, chemists, biomedical engineers, and bioinformatics researchers, graduate students, and undergraduates working side-by-side on investigations in genomics, proteomics, systems biology, and other areas of research that will shape science during the 21st century. (Reference: http://www.bu.edu/phpbin/news/releases/display.php?id=924&template=eng).
To celebrate the new building the university decided to commission me to make three site-specific artworks for the lobby.
The three artworks created in this project which I call Seeds of Life take the subject of evolution as their theme and inspiration. Technical innovation is at the heart of all scientific study today. The sequencing of the human genome is a good example of this. Recent progress in this field would have been impossible without the computer which is one of the reasons I chose the computer as my tool for making these artworks. The study of the human genome is at the heart of this project.
Seeds of Life
This artwork, the largest of the three, references the passion of fundamental growth in all forms. Tens of thousands of genes find there own voice in a chorus of life and death -.genesis and apoptosis in a continuous song of regeneration. In the background of the work there are text references to the X and Y chromosomes on the right and to inherited genetic disorders on the left. The cursive script is an extract from A Process in the Weather of the Heart, a poem by Dylan Thomas
Birth of the Blues and Under My Skin
There is a sense of evolution in the development of music that is holistic in that music touches all our senses. The principle of Mitosis and the division of a cell motivated the central configuration of these artworks. Within this form, instead of DNA, we see an extract from Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin as an intertwining sequence of notes. This piece of music is one of the most seminal works responsible for quickening the development of Jazz. In both works I interweave Scott Joplin's Rag Time with Cole Porter's I've Got You Under My Skin.
Jazz evolved to deal with life's tragedies, to express pain and to overcome it. I refer to Jazz here as a kind of panacea, a philosopher's stone to help counteract those ancient human genetic inherited maladies that biotechnology has cataloged as the genes of the Morbid Map. The Morbid Map and the blues that it creates is the backdrop of these artworks.
Life Science & Engineering Building, Boston University
Seeds of Life, 2006, Front lit Digital Print on Kodak
Endura Paper, 72 x 120 inches
Under My Skin, 2006, Front lit Digital Print on
Kodak Endura paper, 60 x 60 inches