For, Cellular, a window project at PDX, I continue my 15 year exploration cellular structure, division and anomalies. I began this project with cell formation in the Summer of 2008 when I created Sound Wall, an installation using handmade paper walls embedded with sound recordings of cells made with a atomic force microscope at CAMAC the Center for Art and Technology in France. This work made direct reference to the monastery cell and biological cell division.
Similar to Sound Wall, I re-made the PDX window space from hand made paper. Imbedded into the paper wall is an image of a blastiocast, or the multiple cell embryo, taken with Optronics Microfire digital cameras mounted on Olympus stereomicrocopes. A small screen in the bottom right corner in the window shows a looped film of the embryos made with Astro IIDC imaging software.. The paper room in the window is illuminated from the interior to create the visual and physical effect of the thin walls of cells and the embryonic sac in the films.
In order to make sheets of paper at 4’ x 8’, I pouring thoroughly beaten pulp on to a 4’ x 8’ silkscreen. These very thin sheets of paper record the pouring of the pulp and process of fiber bonding and drying. This beaten cellular structure of plant fiber makes random cloud like patterns that look like the actual cellular wall one sees through the microscope. I chose to make this paper my self because it has a very low environmental impact and reflects the process of cellular formation. (The metal frames used, were made from recycled and re-fabricated steel.)
My colleague at Reed College, Steve Black, professor of developmental Biology and Zoology, provided me with the raw films of the blastiocasts. Each segment was shot over 200-hour period. Steve and his students shot these images of Gastrulation to the blastiocast to understand development, anomalies and observe the full gestation.. Each of these particular cell clusters is healthy. I edited these films and repeated them over and over, to mimic the process of cell division and as a gesture of endless” potential”. Although each cell many look the same and each embryo is from the same species, they develop, divide and grow at a different rate thus expressing their uniqueness and random qualities.