Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line covers 100 years of maps, reminding us of all the traumas, cultural revolutions, social mutations and technological advances the world has gone through over the course of the 20th century. It’s been a fierce time and mapping technology has echoed and sometimes even shaped every moment of it.
The newly commissioned works investigate repetition through works as diverse as an improvised performance based on the sounds of war, the exploration of the traces left by an UFO seen over the village of Bir-Nabala, a patchwork blanket that is knitted and then unravelled in echo of the Palestinian-Syrian refugees who have to rebuild their life with each displacement, the reviving of an archival photo of a 1970s Palestinian female fighter through various moments in the history of post-Nakba Palestinian art, etc.
Session 5. The Extended Body: Biomedicine, Micromatter & the Transhuman was the most eclectic and unpredictable one. It investigated issues as diverse as the use of forensic methodologies in art, the presence of human cells outside of the body and the possible role of bacteria in creativity
This session was one of the most fascinating sessions for me. Full of weirdness and wisdom. It started with a 19th century sculptor who made a life-like statue of himself complete with his own hair and teeth, proceeded with a set of artists who work with tattoo and the latest technology and ended up with artworks, socks and other artifacts made of human hair.
With the arrival of 3D printing prosthesis using bio-compatible material, we might see more and more extreme body modifications reaching the mainstream. What could once only be imagined is now only a matter of time
The second session of the symposium dedicated to the use of the human body by artists was titled “Blood & Bone: Post-mortem Afterlives, Trauma & Ethics.” And it involved many uncomfortable trips to the autopsy room
Semen, cell cultures, urine, feaces, tears, blood, hair, skin– the human body has been used not merely as the subject of art works, but also as their substance.
Last week, the Institute of Advanced Studies at University College London held a symposium that explored the use of “biomaterial” in modern and contemporary art practices