Living Viral Tattoos

(2008 – Ongoing)
Today, synthetic retroviruses, such as Lentivirus, are regularly used in laboratories to transport genes and markers to various ‘target’ areas and immunohistochemical stains are used to visualize viral and cellular reactions. Living Viral Tattoos is a research-creation project featuring the same process of immunohistochemical staining to visualize infected cells on the surface of human and pig skin and render a blue ‘bruise’ that is perceptible to the human eye. Conceptually, the idea of using the movement of viral cells to create the ‘bruise’ is the focus of artistic expression. The rendering of the ‘bruise’ is not scientific or medical. No contusion has occurred on the skin. Rather, the stain rendered in the form of a bruise is a reference to current tensions and social anxiety regarding biotechnology and the viral. My intention in using Lentivirus as an artistic medium and subject is to explore how perceptions and tensions around infection and contagion might be reimagined and rearticulated by engaging with viral vectors.
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Selected references for Living Viral Tattoos:

The Rise of the Bio-society, 2016, curated by Melentie Pandilovski.
http://www.riddochartgallery.org.au/bio-society

Semipermeable,2013, curated by Oran Catts at the Powerhouse.
http://www.symbiotica.uwa.edu.au/activities/exhibitions/semipermeable-

Meta-Life: Biotechnologies, Synthetic Biology, A-Life and the Arts:
https://www.olats.org/studiolab/metaLifeBiotechnologies.php

Evolution Haute Couture: Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age, 2009, edited by Dmitry Bulatov
http://archive.neural.it/init/default/show/1522

Toxicity, curated by Jennifer Willet and Melentie Pandilovski
https://plugin.org/exhibitions/2013/toxicity