Conflict, Time, Photography, an exhibition which opened in November at Tate Modern, looks at over 150 years of conflict around the world, since the invention of photography. It could have been one of those shows that organizes the photos according to themes, geographical area or chronology. The curator, however, orchestrated the exhibition according to the length of time that elapsed between the conflict and the moment the photographs were taken.

0Toshio-Fukada.jpg
Toshio Fukada, The Mushroom Cloud - Less than twenty minutes after the explosion (1), 1945

The first room in the show, "Moments Later", contains thus images taken almost straight after a disaster occurred. The most compelling example of it is the mushroom cloud photographed 20 minutes after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Toshio Fukada was then a 17-year-old student. He always carried a camera with him and took the images from his window, 2.7 km from the hypocenter.

As you walk through the exhibition rooms, the duration between image and event grows into days, weeks, months, years and decades.

0CDM_Shot_at_Dawn_002.jpg
Chloe Dewe Mathews, Former abattoir, Mazingarbe, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, 2013
Private James Graham. 07:22 / 21.12.1915
Private John Docherty. 07:12 / 15.02.1916
Private John Jones. Time unknown / 24.2.1916
Private Arthur Dale. Time unknown / 3.3.1916
Private C. Lewis. Time unknown / 11.3.1916
Private Anthony O'Neill. Time unknown / 30.4.1916
Private John William Hasemore. 04:25 / 12.5.1916
Private J. Thomas. Time unknown / 20.5.1916
Private William Henry Burrell. Time unknown / 22.5.1916
Private Edward A. Card. Time unknown / 22.9.1916
Private C. Welsh. Time unknown / 6.3.1918


0i6westvlaande1815.jpg
Chloe Dewe Mathews, Vebranden-Molen, West-Vlaanderen, 2013.
Private Ahmed ben Mohammed el Yadjizy, Private Ali ben Ahmed ben Frej ben Khelil, Private Hassen ben Ali ben Guerra el Amolani and Private Mohammed Ould Mohammed ben Ahmed. 17:00/15.12.1914

0sixfarmx525109.jpg
Chloe Dewe Mathews, Six Farm, Loker, West-Vlaanderen
Private Joseph Byers, Private Andrew Evans. Time unknown / 6.2.1915
Private George E. Collins, 07:30 / 15.2.1915

The last gallery shows the series i found most moving. Almost 100 years after the start of WWI, Chloe Dewe Mathews photographed some of the exact spots where British, French and Belgian soldiers were executed for cowardice and desertion between 1914 and 1918. The photos of Shot at Dawn were also taken at approximately the same time of year the men were killed.

The quiet landscapes evoke incidents which memory has been suppressed for decades. Although there is no visible trace of what happened in these locations, the photographer managed to convey the sadness and anxiety these young men must have experienced in those early mornings.

I've seen countless books and exhibitions of images taken by photojournalists reporting from the battle fields. Some of the images were truly frightful and depressing. Yet, frequent exposure to war photography have almost numbed my feelings. I go from one image to the next one and, at best, only a fleeting memory of what i've just seen remains. Conflict, Time, Photography revitalized a sense of horror and dismay that war images (should) provoke. By forcing me to reflect on the impact that conflicts have on people, culture and places over time, this show will haunt me for years to come.

Conflict, Time, Photography is an intense and powerful show. I wish i could mention every single work i saw there but i'll just stop at this brief selection:

0_m66kytJDxV1r20y3p.jpg

0tpushedr20y3p.jpg
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, People in Trouble Laughing Pushed to the Ground

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin have a couple of works in the exhibition. One of them is People In Trouble Laughing Pushed To The Ground which uses fragments of images of Belfast Exposed, a collection of images taken by professional photo-journalists and 'civilian' photographers who documented life under the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Whenever someone selected an image in the archive for use, it was market by a red, yellow or blue sticker. Broomberg and Chanarin enlarged and reprinted the area beneath the dots, revealing puzzling, romantic, amusing or brutal fragments of life under the Troubles.

0i8patiocivil804c42020.jpg
Luc Delahaye, Patio civil, cementero San Rafael, Malaga, 2009

70 years after the end of the Spanish Civil War, Luc Delahaye photographed the forensic exhumation of a mass grave containing the bodies of Republican fighters executed during the Spanish civil war.

0nuclIMG_0770.jpg
Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, Kurchatov - Architecture of a Nucleur Test Site. Kazakhstan. Opytnoe Pole, 2012. © Ursula Schultz-Dornburg

In October 2012, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg had the opportunity to photograph the former USSR nuclear weapons test site near the city of Kurchatov in Kazakhstan. The photographs depict the pitiful remnants of a megalomaniacal arms race.

0eiichshadowi.jpg
Matsumoto Eiichi, Shadow of a soldier remaining on the wooden wall of the Nagasaki military headquarters (Minami-Yamate machi, 4.5km from Ground Zero), 1945

0markkMA_02.jpg

0markkkMA_01.jpg
Nick Waplington, We live as we dream, alone, 1993. © Nick Waplington

Nick Waplington captured drawings and words left on the walls by the prisoners of a war camp in South Wales where the low and mid level SS where kept before being sent to Nuremburg for trail.

0Faiti20 S.jpg
Sophie Ristelhueber, Fait # 20, 1992

0Faito43 S.jpg
Sophie Ristelhueber, Fait # 43, 1992

0Faiti59 S.jpg
Sophie Ristelhueber, Fait # 59, 1992

Sophie Ristelhueber traveled to Kuwait months after the end of the First Gulf War to record the physical traces of the conflict. The aerial and ground-level photos depict bombed out terrains, mangled machinery, still-burning oil fields, tank tracks and other "scars" left on the landscape.

0_DSC0385.jpg

0_DSC2523.jpg

0_DSC0574.jpg

0_DSC0541.jpg

0_DSC2418.jpg
Stephen Shore, Ukraine 2013. © Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore met Ukrainian holocaust survivors in their houses. There are a few portraits but most of the images detail their belongings. From baby pink plastic radio to ordinary kitchen corners.

0afg_sheep_sn08.jpg
Simon Norfolk, Bullet-scarred apartment building and shops in the Karte Char district of Kabul. This area saw fighting between Hikmetyar and Rabbani and then between Rabbani and the Hazaras, 2003. From the series Afghanistan Chronotopia

0conflict-039.jpg
Pierre Anthony-Thouret, Reims after the War, Plate XXXVIII, 1927

In the months after the end of the first world war, architect Pierre Anthony-Thouret documented the destruction of the city of Reims.

0TSimon_website-19.jpg
Excerpt from Chapter VII, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII
1. Nukic, Nezir, 1928 (exact birth date unknown). Forester and road builder. Zivinice, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2. Mehic, Zumra, 09 Dec. 1950. Homemaker. Kladanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3. Mehic, Bajazit, 16 Sept. 1972 - 11 July 1995. Mortal remains, International Commission on Missing Persons, Podrinje Identification Project. Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4. Mehic, Ahmedin, 16 Feb. 1974 - 12 July 1995. Tooth sample used for DNA matching, International Commission on Missing Persons. Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery, Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In one of the pieces of the series A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I - XVIII , Taryn Simon looked for the survivors of the Srebrenica massacre and built up their family trees. Most of the photos show women and children. Missing members are represented by blanks or by dental fragments found in mass graves.

0i6388140585_3a8fe5cbd3_b.jpg
Don McCullin, Shell-shocked US marine, Hue, Vietnam, February 1968

I'll end with a photo that hangs in one of the rooms titled Moments After. Don McCullin's portrait of a shell shocked marine was taken just minutes after he had been engaged in a bloody battle in Vietnam.

"McCullin's picture is very important for us because it's the kind of picture we very rarely see in the era of embedded photographers, it is very hard to take and show this kind of image," curator Simon Baker told The Guardian. "It's taken moments after this marine has been engaged in an extremely serious engagement and you see him completely traumatised, completely frozen by what's happened to him."

Conflict, Time, Photography is at Tate Modern until 15 March 2015.

Experimental Eating, edited by Thomas Howells. With introductory essay by Zach Denfeld, Cathrine Kramer and Emma Conley from The Center for Genomic Gastronomy.

Available on amazon UK and US.

0wjXCcAE2E9L.jpg
(Image via @allieartbooks)

Black Dog Publishing writes: Experimental Eating is the first international survey of contemporary experimental and experiential food-based creative practices across art, design, catering, science and theatre. Deliciously detailed and good enough to eat, this book combines luscious images with text that questions the assumptions behind how we make, eat and perceive food.

Experimental Eating demonstrates how current creative collaborations are pushing the boundaries of how we understand, experience and relate to food and the rituals of dining. The book encompasses unusual and cutting-edge foods, radical dining events, "kitchen laboratory" experiments, food sculptures and other documentation of the transient moments that make up this field of experimentation.

0McCarthy-Santa-1.jpg
Paul McCarthy, Chocolate version of Santa with Tree. Photo: Svetlana Bachevanova via Paris Photo

0CGG-smogTasting1.jpg
Center for Genomic Gastronomy, Smog Tasting

0-ortolanAbove-620x618.jpg
Center for Genomic Gastronomy, Vegan Ortolan

0i3cucumb7_slider.jpg
Erwin Wurm, Self-Portrait of Cucumbers, 2008

Experimental Eating is a merry and fascinating survey of artworks that bring the political, the unusual or the technological into the ritual of food consumption. From the moment the ingredients are planted or bred to the moments they are combined into dishes, consumed or discarded.

The book comes at a good time. A time when cooking shows pullulate on tv screens while concerns are raised about the ethics (or rather lack thereof) of our food production.

The artists whose work is featured in the book remind us that a meal is far more than the insertion of edible material into our mouth. It is the result of farming practices, cultural standards, biological manipulations, technological innovations, international trade law and often also ethical choices. Some of the artists and designers working with food speculate on the impact that tissue engineering will have on our plates, others create a permanent fast food joint that offers cuisine from countries the United States is currently in conflict with, others uncover and denounce aspects of our food systems we might not be aware of, etc. What these practitioners have in common is that they use food as a vehicle to get our full attention and spark conversations over broader themes. Preferably outside of the contrived environment of museums and galleries.

Experimental Eating closes on a series of art&food related reprint. They are masterfully chosen. There's Romy Golan's Anti-Pasta which informed me someone once had the idea of founding PIPA, the International Association Against Pasta; there's an introduction to The Starving Artists' Cookbook; and there's The Culinary Triangle, Claude Lévi-Strauss essay on the semantic field of cooking meat.

There might be other publications on the topic but Experimental Eating is the first one that falls into my hands and it is an entertaining, thought-provoking and thrilling one.

Some of the many artworks i discovered in the book:

0aassugggarm.jpg
Van Brummelen & De Haan, Monument of Sugar, Argos Brussels, 2007

Following the discovery that European sugar costs far less when sold outside of Europe, Van Brummelen & De Haan embarked on an investigation of the European subsidised sugar trade. They bought European surplus sugar in Nigeria and then shipped it back home. To elude the European trade barrier for sugar imports they transformed the sugar into a monument. The import application was thus filled under the Uniform Commercial Code Law 9703, which applies to all monuments and original artworks regardless of the material in which they are produced. In the end, however, they had to contend with more tariff barriers then they succeeded in avoiding and the sugar proved more expensive than at home.

The sugar sculpture is accompanied by a film essay which charts the artists' research into the sugar trade.

0cinder_toffee_synphoni_0.jpg
Condiment Junkie, Bittersweet Symphony, 2014

Condiment Junkie experimented with modifying the perception of taste, making it bitter or sweeter, using sound only.

0iii0i0pigshead.jpg
Waag Society, The Other Dinner. Photo Chloé Rutzerveld, 2013

The Other Dinner investigated the meat culture of the past, present and future. One of the chapters of the event looked at the parts of the pig, cow, chicken or sheep that are usually disdained and used only for export or animal feed.

0Rakowitz_FoodTruck.jpg
Michael Rakowitz, Enemy Kitchen. Photo: Smart Museum of Art

Collaborating with his Iraqi-Jewish mother, Michael Rakowitz compiles Baghdadi recipes and teaches them to different audiences. He also serves the food in a ice cream truck with the help American veterans of the Iraq War. Preparing and consuming the food gives the artist and the public a chance to approach the topic of Iraq in a more open, less CNN-report way.


Bompas & Parr, Cooking with Lava, 2014. Video by Robert Wysocki

0imcooklava1be130a55.jpg
Harry Parr of Bompas and Parr gets volcanic on 10-ounce rib-eye steaks and ears of corn. Photo Bompas and Parr

Bompas & Parr collaborated with Professor Robert Wysocki , an artist who works with artificial volcanoes and streams of man-made lava, for artistic and scientific purposes. The artistic duo harnessed his expertise and bronze furnace to cook meat and fish.

0deepfriedgadgets04.jpg
Henry Hargreaves, Deep Fried Gadgets

The title says it all. This is also one of the most stomach-churning works i've ever read about.

0a01strawberries_fin.jpg
Klaus Pichler, Strawberries, One Third - a project on food waste
Place of production: San Giovanni Lupatoto, Verona, Italy
Cultivation method: Foil green house * Time of harvest: June - October
Transporting distance: 741 km * Means of transportation: Truck
Carbon footprint (total) per kg: 0,35 kg * Water requirement (total) per kg: 348 l
Price: 7,96 € / kg

0a1tomatoes6-pic-01.jpg
Klaus Pichler, Tomatoes, One Third - a project on food waste
Place of production: Albenga, Italy
Cultivation method: Foil green house * Time of harvest: All- season
Transporting distance: 1.035 km * Means of transportation: Truck
Carbon footprint (total) per kg: 0,31 kg * Water requirement (total) per kg: 215 l
Price: 0,89 € / kg

According to a UN study one third of the world's food goes to waste (mostly in the industrialized nations of the global north) while 925 million people around the world are threatened by starvation. Klaus Pichler's series 'One Third' explores the connection between individual wastage of food and globalized food production. Over a period of nine months, the photographer used his apartment bathroom as a storage space for rotting food items. He then arranged the abominable result of the fermentation into elaborate still lifes and accompanied the images with texts that take an in depth look at the food production and distribution.

Related stories: Prison Gourmet, Data Cuisine, food as data expression, The Meat Licence Proposal, interview with John O'Shea, Super Meal, Cobalt 60 Sauce, a barbecue sauce made from 'supermarket mutants', Cook Me - Black Bile, Conflict Kitchen, Herbologies/Foraging Networks at Pixelache Helsinki, Interview with Kultivator, an experimental cooperation of organic farming and visual art practice, Temporary photoElectric Digestopians (Fusing Cooking and Solar Tech with Design), The Spice Trade Expedition - In pursuit of artificial flavoring, Book Review - Cooking Science: Condensed Matter, etc.

0asscotchgambit07.jpg
Panamarenko, Scotch Gambit

0ition_view_Panamarenko_Universum_M_HKAphoto_clinckx4.jpg
Panamarenko, Pahama, Spitsbergen, Nova Zemblaya, 1996 courtesy Collection Fondation Cartier, Paris photo M HKA

Panamarenko, the artist and inventor who builds zeppelins, mechanical chickens, flying backpacks, flying saucers, robots, submarines and other machines designed to travel over land, under water and in outer space, is having a big and rather wonderful retrospective at the M HKA, in his home town of Antwerp.

As its name suggests, Panamarenko Universum attempts to cover the full spectrum of his artistic production and mental landscape. Along with many of the vehicles and devices Panamarenko has created ​​between 1965 and 2005, M HKA is also exhibiting drawings, objects, documentations of tv interviews, scientific experiments and performances, models and editions.

It's difficult not to be seduced by Panamarenko's childlike enthusiasm for movement and science, by his inventiveness and by machines which are successful as artworks but often hopeless as vehicles for ocean and space expeditions.

Some of the works i (re)discovered in Antwerp:

2a014_exhibition_view_Panamarenko_Universum_M_HKAphoto_clinckx8.jpg
Exhibition view Panamarenko Universum, 2014. Photo M HKA

2a014_exhibition_view_Panamarenko_Universum_M_HKAphoto_clinckx.jpg
Exhibition view Panamarenko Universum, 2014. Photo M HKA


Panamarenko had always wanted to build a submarine to take to the open seas and defy any storm. His ultimate purpose was to use this craft to journey to the Far North. Nonetheless, it took until the middle of the 19990s before the project really got under way.

0aapahama36.jpg
PAHAMA, Spitsbergen, Nova Zemblaya

0a000alikoop.jpg
Arlikoop, 2004

A one-man aircraft which construction is based on the flapping movements of birds.

0_Ran's_variable_matrix_photo_M_HKAclinckx3.jpg
Raven's variable matrix, 2000

An advanced deep-sea diving apparatus engineered to dive faster. It consisted of a shaft attached to a screw-propeller and two pedals with belts. The device was strapped around the diver's hips, leaving the arms and torso completely free.

'You just have to peddle away with your legs, and it's just like you have a tail. That moved you forward fast, much faster than a swimmer...' - Panamarenko

0_elbowWIM5020.jpg
Big Elbow (Razmo Special), 1990-1992

Panamarenko testing one of his diving contraptions:

0nagePAN_AM_FOTO_0935.jpg

0alaplagggge.jpg
Panamarenko Archive, M HKA, Antwerp, 2014

A diving suit for walking over the gentle slopes of the seabed. The diving suit has a plastic dome helmet and a small cylinder pump, ten centimetres in diameter, to be worn on the back. The helmet is supplied with oxygen by a cylinder with a piston that goes up and down, a four-litre bladder that serves as an extra lung, and a flexible hose that floats on the water surface.

0Portuguese_Man_Of_War_-_sculptuur.jpg
Portuguese Man of War, 1990

0aaaaaaaanonricord.jpg
Panamareko testing the Portuguese Man of War in the Maldives. Panamarenko Archive, M HKA, Antwerp, 2014

In the 1970s, to create devices that take off vertically, Panamarenko concentrated his research on rotation speed and lifting power. The artist developed a series of compact but powerful Pastille Motors to power his rucksack helicopters. The name Pastille Motor refers to the round, flat shape reminiscent of a large aspirin. The engine must not weigh more than twelve kg, while five kilos of fuel should be sufficient for twenty minutes' flying.

0Hazerug_detourrevoltu.jpg
R.p.M. (Revolutions per Minute)

0surlapalggggggge.jpg
Panamarenko Archive, M HKA, Antwerp, 2014

The propulsion for the Pepto Bismo is powered by short rotor-propellers, each driven by its own motor. The helicopter principal allows the pilot to take-off vertically, controlling the apparatus by body movement.

0Beeld_Panamareno_Universum.jpg
Panamarenko, Pepto Bismo, 2003 courtesy Private Collection photo M HKA

Panamarenko built flying saucers and other spacecraft, he also researched into the various possibilities of using existing magnetic fields as cosmic highways to travel the solar system. In 1997 his fascination for the cosmos resulted in the final project Ferro Lusto that he describes as a spaceship of 800 meters in length and fit for a crew of 4000. Ferro Lusto would act as the mother ship that carres various smaller crafts, which he calls Bings.

0Dewbbbbbiiiingeer5.jpg
Bing of the Ferro Lusto (model), 2002

Panamarenko developed Bing of the Ferro Lusto and Bing II as hybrid machines suitable for flying through both the atmosphere and outer space. Bing II was powered using air and has three 4D booster engines developed on the basis of the Toymodel of Space theory. The engine consists of two cylinders set in parallel in a metal block. Four pistons make alternate upward and sideways movements. The drive power develops on the basis of the difference in speed and mass in contrast with the direction of movement of the earth and solar system, boosted by centrifugal force. '

0a000bling37_copy.jpg
Panamarenko, Bing of the Ferro Lusto (model) , 2002 Courtesy Mulier Mulier Gallery

Panamarenko built The Aeromodeller between 1969 and 1971. The basketwork gondola was designed as a living space. Two aircraft engines on top of it are used to steer the imposing airship, which is held aloft by a cigar-shaped balloon, thirty metres long.

0aeromdoellerUntitled059.jpg
The Aeromodeller (Zeppelin), 1969-1971

_zepppWIM7533.jpg
Dubbele zeppelin, 1990

Panamarenko designed this machine on insect-like aluminium legs, to enable him to walk around the Swiss mountains more easily. Crooked Leg is powered by a boat engine and is operated using two vertical levers on either side of the device.

0PAN_AM_FOTO_1096.jpg
Knikkebeen [Crooked Leg], 1994

The Magnetic Shoes are made with military boots from the former East Block and copper stator coils taken apart from electric motors. He would weld the coils' magnets to a rod and then trapped an electrical charge. The result was amazing! If you then touched a piece of metal to it, you couldn't get it off no matter how hard you pulled! In a green rucksack (where military personnel would keep their walkie-talkies) are the lead batteries to provide the current. By alternatingly turning the current in the magnets on and off, I could hang upside down from a ceiling and walk around. I thought: well, that's a start... a little bit like flying...

0aachosssurez.jpg
Magnetic Shoes, 1966-1967

0panamarenko-meikever.jpg
May-bug (Salto Arte), 1972

2a014_exhibition_view_Panamarenko_Universum_M_HKAphoto_clinckx6.jpg
Exhibition view Panamarenko Universum, 2014. Photo M HKA

2a014_Panamarenko_photocc.jpg
Exhibition view Panamarenko Universum, 2014. Photo M HKA

2a014_exhibition_view_Panamarenko_Universum_M_HKAphoto_clinckx9.jpg
Exhibition view Panamarenko Universum, 2014. Photo M HKA

2a014_exhibition_view_Panamarenko_Universum_M_HKAphoto_clinckx10.jpg
Exhibition view Panamarenko Universum, 2014. Photo M HKA


0Panamarenko_Donderwolk_1970-1971Collectie_Koninklijke_Musea_voor_Schone_Kunsten_van_België_M_HKAphoto_clinckx3.jpg
Panamarenko, Donderwolk, 1970-1971. Collectie Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België photo M HKA


0provo-car.jpg
Panamarenko, Prova Car, courtesy collection M HKA


0aalecassqqqi8.jpg

0prooovaensmbl.jpg
Panamarenko Archive, M HKA, Antwerp, 2014

0i1portug80130c7.jpg

0i1toppanama3481.jpg
PAHAMA (detail)

0ainside5201fe2.jpg
Inside the PAHAMA

0PAN_AM_FOTO_0878.jpg
Panamarenko testing his electronic tank. Location: Furkapas. ©image: Panamarenko Archive

Panamarenko Universum is on view at the M HKA in Antwerp until Sunday 29 March 2015.

0a-simple-line-small.jpg
Exhibition view at MU, Eindhoven, 2014. Photo by Hanneke Wetzer

0simple_line-abstra.jpg
Jalila Essaidi, A Simple Line, 2014

I'm sure you've heard about Jalila Essaidi's work before. She is an artist who uses biology as an artistic medium, the founder of the BioArt Laboratories Foundation and the author of one of my favourite books about bioart: Bulletproof Skin, Exploring Boundaries by Piercing Barriers. And yes, she is also the artist behind the famous Bulletproof Skin project.

Essaidi is currently participating to the exhibition Matter of Life | Growing Bio Art & Design at MU in Eindhoven with a less headline-grabbing but equally fascinating work called A Simple Line. The installation looks at how the thin line between reality and abstraction is taking shape inside our brain and more precisely at the level of the 'simple cells' that are responsible for the formation and perception of the abstract concept of a line.

With 'A simple line', Essaïdi attempts to merge the abstract idea of a line with its most tangible reality by having a zebra finch look at its own brain cells in the form of a line. The result of her experimentation joins the organic (a bird inside a cage), the abstract (colour block lines) and even the conceptual.

0simple_line-detail.jpg
Jalila Essaidi, A Simple Line, 2014

0simple_line-oiseal_1.jpg
Jalila Essaidi, A Simple Line, 2014

A few words with the artist:

Hi Jalila! Do you have a link to the research about specific cells (simple cells) that are responsible for the formation and perception of the abstract concept of a line?

Information processing and specifically the functioning of simple cells find its origin in the research of Hubel and Wiesel. These cells were discovered in the late 1950s. It would be hard to pin point a specific article that would be interesting for your readers but I think the videos of Hubel and Wiesel's cat experiments say more than a thousand words. There are several available online.

Serendipity & discovering simple cells:


Hubel and Wiesel Cat Experiment

Simple cells & complex cells, tests that show* how the cells are reacting to orientation specific lines:


Hubel & Wiesel - Cortical Neuron - V1

*What you are hearing are the cells -connected by electrodes placed in the brain- firing when stimulated

How does the installation work? What is it made of? What do we see in the two tubes?

I have the feeling this question is technical/practical in nature so I am skipping the intent of the work, which of course is a vital part to the question "how".

What you see is the setup needed to merge the abstract idea of a line with its most tangible reality.

The installation is a work in progress; inside the tubes a line made of simple cells is visible. The cells are attached to a thin floating horizontal structure, which acts as a scaffold. The entire installation is designed to offer an optimal environment by controlling the temperature and composition of the atmosphere inside the inner tube, containing the line.

The next stage of the work would be an exploration into golden support structures, how to preserve the line outside of its current environment, and how to combine these preserved lines into their final form.

0simple_line-tube.jpg
Jalila Essaidi, A Simple Line, 2014

Is there a particular reason why you chose a zebra finch? rather than any other bird, or even a mouse or a bug?

Zebra Finches are, just like Zebra Fish, a model organism in scientific research. At the Bio-Imaging Lab of Antwerp University they research plasticity of the Zebra Finch brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging. These studies give us new insights in for example Alzheimer's disease. My intention was to visualize the capacity of simple cells to detect lines using fMRI and make that the foundation of the project. This turned out to be not possible with current fMRI technology (of which they have at Antwerp the state of the art).

But even with fMRI out of the picture, the Zebra Finches stayed. Their brain being mapped out in histological- (for example http://www.zebrafinchatlas.org/)and digital three dimensional atlases simplified the entire process and of course their traditional birdcages -made mostly out of lines- charmed me and they felt like a natural choice for the project.

How did you get the brain cells of the bird?

The cells aren't from the actual birds in the birdcage, but from zebra finches that passed away due to old age.

15simpl8_b7389aaec4_b.jpg
Exhibition view at MU, Eindhoven, 2014. Photo by Hanneke Wetzer

Any upcoming project, research, event you'd like to share with us?

There will be an event on February 7th 2015 at MU Artspace where there will be a reflection on the work from the arts, philosophy and neurosciences. The evening will be in the format of a talk show.

I'm working on /researching a new project again with spidersilk which I hope to present at the end of 2015.

Thanks Jalila!

A Simple Line is part of the exhibition Matter of Life | Growing Bio Art & Design at MU, Strijp S, in Eindhoven. The show remains open until 22nd February 2015.
Also part of the exhibition: Cobalt 60 Sauce, a barbecue sauce made from 'supermarket mutants' and FATBERG: Building An Island of Fat.

Don't forget to send your proposals to the BIO ART & DESIGN AWARD. The three winning ideas will be awarded €25.000 to fully realize a new work of art or design that pushes the boundaries of research application and creative expression. They will be developed in collaboration with a Dutch research institution then exhibited to the public in MU Art Space in Eindhoven at the end of the year. The deadline for applications is 2 February 2015.

A human placenta from 'Stem Cell Transplantation' by Shaun McCann as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin 1.jpg
Shaun McCann, A human placenta from 'Stem Cell Transplantation. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

It flows throughout our bodies and yet some of us faint when they see a drop of it. It is a key features in stories of vampires and children fairytales. It is the fluid that is most closely associated to life but also to the Ebola virus, diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and other life-threatening conditions.


BLOOD at Science Gallery Dublin

The 25 artworks that make the exhibition BLOOD (Not for the faint-hearted) aptly reflect the complex space that blood occupies in our cultures. From the vampire killing kit to the video of stem-cell extractions, from the luminol dripped down onto a sculpture made of blood and resin to Hermann Nitsch's cathartic Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries, all grounds seem to be covered: history, pure science, crime, medicine, literary fiction, ethics and taboo.

A couple of works in the show might be upsetting for some and indeed the gallery recommends it to the 15+. Strangely enough, i had no problem visiting the show but writing about it makes me far more uncomfortable. I could not even watch the video of Maria Phelan's work MYTYPE.

'May the Horse live in Me !' by Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoit Mangin as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin .jpg
Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoit Mangin, May the Horse live in Me! Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

Dried horse blood as part of 'May the Horse live in Me !' by Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoit Mangin as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin .jpg
Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoit Mangin, May the Horse live in Me! (Dried horse blood) Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

One of the works that opens the show is a documentation of Que le cheval vive en moi! (May the horse live in me!), a performance in which Marion Laval-Jeantet was injected with horse blood plasma. This bold self-experiment continues the artistic duo's exploration of trans-species relationships.

In the months preceding the performance, Marion Laval-Jeantet built up her tolerance to the foreign animal bodies by being injected with horse anibodies. The artists called the process "mithridatization", after Mithridates VI of Pontus who cultivated an immunity to poisons by regularly ingesting sub-lethal doses of the same. Once her body was ready, she was injected with horse blood plasma containing the entire spectrum of foreign antibodies, without falling into anaphylactic shock, an acute multi-system allergic reaction.

In this Science Gallery interview below, Benoit Mangin explains how Marion was able to hide the eyes of the horse. A horse would normally react very violently to having his eyes covered but somehow, the animal didn't perceive her as being an entirely different organism.


May the Horse Live in Me! at BLOOD

0itransfusionmgp6903.jpg
Robert McDonnell's blood transfusion apparatus on display. Photo The City.ie

Nearby, lies the apparatus used by surgeon Robert McDonnell on a fourteen year old girl whose arm was torn and lacerated while she was working in a paper mill. Robert drew 350 millilitres of blood from his own arm and syringed it back into Mary Anne. The girl's condition improved for a short time, but she died the day after. It was the first human-to-human blood transfusion performed in Ireland.

'Black Market Pudding' by John O'Shea as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin.jpg
John O'Shea, Black Market Pudding. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

John O'Shea is showing a video recipe of his renowned delicacy, the Black Market Pudding. Just like we get milk from cows and eggs from chicken without the need to kill them, we could also get fresh blood from pigs and make black pudding, a type of blood sausage commonly eaten in Britain and Ireland.

The blood is extracted from living pigs via a routine veterinary procedure and the whole business model ensures that the pig grows old peacefully. Kind of. And because vegetarian suet is used to emulsify the ingredients, the black market pudding is branded as being an ethical animal product.

'Legion' by Marc Quinn Dried horse blood as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin.jpg
Marc Quinn, Legion. Dried horse blood as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

Marc Quinn is an artist famous for many reasons. One of them is a series of casts of his head made out of 8 pints of his own blood, frozen.

Quinn is participating to the show with a wax model of his baby son. The sculpture is made of wax mixed with animal blood and protein his son is intolerant to. The work is thus both tender and savage. It evokes the love for a child and the cruelty of appropriating the blood of a non-human animal.

0t_2014-10-20_at_12.56.58.jpg
Peter Arnds, The Nazi Ideology of Blood and Blood-Ridden Tales From German Children's Literature

Professor Peter Arnds is showing a fascinating collection of German children's books in which children come to harm and blood is shed, posters that detail the Nazis' obsession with blood and its purity, and a short video on the Nazis' ideology of blood.

It turns out that children's literature and folktales are quite at ease with the depiction of murder, cannibalism and other violent scenes. In Germany and elsewhere. One example of this is Charles Perrault's version of Little Red Riding Hood from 1697or the Grimm Brothers' original fairytales.

'StainsTM' by Chella Quint as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin.jpg
Chella Quint, STAINS™. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

0i1stains972_585_n.jpg
Chella Quint, STAINS™. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin (image from the Science Gallery facebook page)

There is a lot of humour in the gallery as well. STAINS™ is a fake company that challenges the hypocrisy of marketers trying to sell female menstrual products while showing blue liquids and pretty girls laughing in the sunshine.

Visitors to the exhibition are invited to take a selfie with one of the blood stain broaches made by STAINS™ and share the photo via the Twitter with the hashtag #periodpositive. You can also buy the blood stains as earrings or pendant.

More images from the show:

'Blood Vessels' by Charlie Murphy as part of BLOOD at Science Galelry at Trinity College Dublin.jpg
Charlie Murphy, Blood Vessels. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

'MyType' by Maria Phelan as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin.jpg
Maria Phelan, MyType. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

A human placenta from 'Stem Cell Transplantation' by Shaun McCann as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin 2.jpg
Shaun McCann, A human placenta from 'Stem Cell Transplantation. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

0rafael2_1841833192710998836_n.jpg
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Pulse Index. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

'Lover' by Franko B as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin 1.jpg
Franko B, Lover. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

'Woof Woof' by Franko B as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin 1.jpg
Franko B, Woof Woof. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

'Vampire Killing Kit' by Clemens Ruthner as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin 2.jpg
Clemens Ruthner, Vampire Killing Kit. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

'Vampire Killing Kit' by Clemens Ruthner as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin 3.jpg
Clemens Ruthner, Vampire Killing Kit. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

'Vampire Killing Kit' by Clemens Ruthner as part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin 1.jpg
Clemens Ruthner, Vampire Killing Kit. Part of BLOOD at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin

The exhibition was curated by curator and media studies scholar Jens Hauser, haematologist Prof Shaun McCann, Immunologist Prof Luke O'Neill, literary and cultural scholar Prof Clemens Ruthner and Science Gallery Dublin director Lynn Scarff. It remains open at the Science Gallery Dublin until tomorrow, Friday 23rd of January.

sponsored by:
Categories: