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Porosity and poiesis across fragile membranes : patterning fluid arrangements in human biology

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Quinn, S ORCID: 0000-0002-0018-8686 2019 , 'Porosity and poiesis across fragile membranes : patterning fluid arrangements in human biology', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

I find that making sense of what confounds us is often instinctual, preconditioned and resolute, and without conscious thought. This practice-­led project is grounded in difficulties during my human science studies when in a moment of clarity, I envisaged the complexities of human biology within a confined order of patterning. Out of a perceived chaos grew a system using colour and ordering to sequence fluid arrangements. My project investigates the proposition of autopoietic patterning in dynamic human biology. I consider the visually creative potential of fluid arrangements inherent in physiology that drives seepage across fragile membranes.
My investigation focusses on the human organism’s visual qualities in its smallest, less obvious, yet visually fascinating parts. I explore notions grounded in microscopic observations that lead to greater emphasis on the performance and interactions of materials in the studio, referencing observations of human matter. I frame this studio investigation within conceptions of material agency offered by new materialism. My creative output is a speculative study expressing human physiology in colour and forms of fluid patterning. I use pigments in a viscous medium that allows additions of colour to flow between applications. The proposition is strengthened in the studio in an extended use of diagnostic tools;; a microscope, glass-­slides, a petri dish. I build on empirical data obtained from clinical observations in the pathology laboratory. The referent in more recent works is in historic models of biological complexity that captured the microscopic in x-­ray diffraction pattern – a revolutionary process that advanced our understanding of the structure of matter. I frame this expression of the human organism and its processes in illuminated colour and transparent layering addressing this significant time in history, capturing the microscopic and the speculative in two and three-­dimensional models.
I situate my project in contemporary artworks from artists that support my concepts. I include Justine Cooper, Annette Messager, and Mona Hatoum for their methods addressing invasive medical interventions and our failing bodies. Anna Dimitriu engages with biology and bioscience with a focus on bacteria and bioinformatics. My engagement with colour identifies with James Turrell’s use of colour and light in installations creating affective environments. The immersive qualities of Mark Rothko’s and Barnett Newman’s colour fields inform my staging of embodied encounters that evoke seepage across boundaries. Dustin Yellin’s corporeal sculptural works elicit an embodied experience that inspirits my use of layered materials.
The project explores theories amplified in feminist writings that challenge and repudiate the gendered notion that biological matter is selectively passive or inert, so encouraging others to embrace dynamic biology at the phenomenological level. In addition, I embrace Stacy Alaimo’s affective proposition that we inhabit trans-­corporeality within the space where the fleshy corporeal human and its complex systems are inseparable from nature and environment. My project bridges the highly intellectualised and abstracted conceptions of human biology with an affective encounter with materiality, immersing viewers in the biology they often fail to acknowledge.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Quinn, S
Keywords: human biology, microscopic, new materialism, feminism, trans-corporeality
DOI / ID Number: 10.25959/100.00031523
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 the author

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