‘We began as part of the body’ is a multi-component digital artwork inspired the eczema genetic research laboratory of Professor Sara Brown, (University of Dundee) where Beverley Hood (University of Edinburgh) undertook an artist residency in 2017 organised by ASCUS Art & Science.The residency involved spend time observing the activities of the lab and the organotypic artificial skin cells, which are both real and synthetic. Taken from an actual person (via tummy tucks, breast surgery, etc), the cells are processed and maintained outside of the body. Almost indescribably similar and different from the cells that exist within our actual body, genes are changed, tweaked, to create eczema skin.The artwork combines microscopy, digital scanning and speech synthesis to create an augmented reality and filmic experience that leads the audience through the cells’ journey, during their short, precious, three weeks long ‘in-vitro’ life, from operating theatre to lab, and finally to disposal.
The exhibition was presented as an Inspace online exhibition from 12 Nov - 10 Dec 2020 and as a seven screen projection on the Inspace City Screens, Potterrow as part of the Being Human festival which ran from 12 - 22 Nov 2020
A live, online discussion about the work took place on 19 November between 16:00 and 17:30.The artwork was funded by the Arts & Ethics Research Group, Wellcome Trust, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh.
This event is part the series ‘Visualising Bodies’ organised by the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society at the University of Edinburgh.