TABOO - TRANSGRESSION - TRANSCENDENCE
in Art & Science
27-29 September 2023, Malta Society of Arts, Valletta
Anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression are all part of a more complex pattern of a growing number of contemporary illnesses that affect people of different ethnicities in different ways and often seem to be triggered by modern lifestyles. For example, disruption to the microbiome caused by modern western diets through intensive farming and food processing not to mention deforestation; work and life patterns may well impact on the effectiveness of our immune system, leading to a diverse range of disabling auto-immune conditions. Farming and food processing are constantly debated, should we make the case that they are transgressive? We are continually in the act of modifying ourselves, hacking our bodies to live to the edge. We have a degree of bodily plasticity, but how far can we (should we) go? Do we contribute to making pathogen microbiomes too strong for the symbiotic?
What are the consequences of transgressive behaviours like living to extremes of wakefulness or dietary exactitude/neglect, what is taboo in relation to nature and the environment? Pushing the boundaries has its dangers. What are the limits? What adjustments can be made that enable us to express ourselves but also to live in balance with the biome? When the biological system is so complex what difference can the 'arts' and 'art' making have in teaching us about readjustment, and restoration about rebalance?
In new multimedia artwork, the artist explores these issues in new projects and exhibitions starting in 2023. What are the themes uncovered and how was work made to reflect these scientific ideas? The artist discusses three concurrent complicated projects: -
Night for Day: Winter for Summer: a project that explores the complex relationship between, circadian rhythms, light, sleep, vitamin D, the microbiome, and the immune system. It's disruption and degradation in the contemporary world and the need for restoration. The final piece will be projected at night in the historic tree circle at St Catherine's Hill, Hampshire.
The Heat Here: a project for University College London on the impact of two recognised impacts on climate change—global warming and air pollution— on human wellbeing, both mental and physical, specifically targeting Parkinson’s disease. How can artwork dissect the issue of homeostasis and the increasing realisation that the gut-brain axis is crucial to the onset of many such conditions?
Restoration: exploring well-being with West Down Gallery, University of Winchester with staff from the Nutrition and Occupational Health team and Philosophy and Religion Departments through the health of the microbiome, its symbiotic relation with the body, and its link to the immune system.
Using change and transformation of the processes the artist aims to raise the complex issues involved: making work that is enlightening and stimulating. How will these projects integrate a working practice and engage the public through participation and the making process as in such projects as Change my Mind, and Junctures of a Haphazard Kind. The artist will explore the ideas within each project, and the successes and pitfalls of these methodologies.
Andrew Carnie is a contemporary visual artist practicing in the UK. His main concerns focus upon the interface of art and science, often working in collaboration with scientists, though not exclusively. His approach is media agnostic, using methodologies and media as informed by the context, concepts, and concerns. Large scale installations and environments are a key part of his practice, exploring subjects such as heart transplants, metabolism, and neurological conditions – these immersive works engage audiences in how we see ourselves through the world of science.
Painting and sculpting have an enduring place in his practice, but video, projection, and installation are his primary strengths. He creates environments that are endlessly fascinating around subjects, like heart transplants, metabolism, and neurological conditions that intrigue him, audiences becoming caught up in these transformative works.
He studied at Goldsmiths then the Royal College of Art, London. His practice has been supported by the Arts Council England, the Wellcome Trust, the AHRC, and SHRC and exhibited locally, nationally, and increasingly internationally. Being shown at the Science Museum, London, the Natural History Museum, Rotterdam, the Design Museum, Zurich, Exit Art, in New York, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, The Great North Museum, Newcastle, the Pera Museum, Istanbul, the Dresden Hygiene Museum, the Morevska Gallery, Brno, and the Daejeon Museum of Art, South Korea, amongst many others.
Recent work has been shown at the CCCB, Barcelona, Brain Observatory, San Diego, Kunsthall Charlottenborg, København, the RSU Anatomical Museum, Riga, and Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas.