Mobile inscriptions

Updated: Feb 27

This blog is named after the influential book 'Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts' (1979) by Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar. Latour's thinking is of special interest to David Hay, collaborator on this blog, and his writing is referenced in my recent PhD thesis 'The Concept of Noise in Medical Visualisations Perceived through a Contemporary Drawing Practice'.

Throughout this residency, we will be reflecting on the artwork and processes using the framework of Latour's ideas. Latour writes about the transformation of three dimensional objects (here I am thinking about biological specimens in the lab) into 'inscriptions':

'Scientists start seeing something once they stop looking at nature and look exclusively and obsessively at prints and inscriptions. In the debates around perception, what is always forgotten is this simple drift from watching confusing three-dimensional objects to inspecting two-dimensional images which have been made less confusing.' (Latour, 1986, p 16)

He argues that inscriptions have the ability to be mobile:

'It is because all these inscriptions can be superimposed, reshuffled, recombined, and summarised, that totally new phenomena emerge, hidden from the other people from whom all these inscriptions have been extracted.' (Latour, 1986, p 32)

I wonder if I can experiment with an artistic language of inscriptions. Can I combine past and present work to make new meanings. Will they combine? I have a wall space next to my 'Artist's Corner' in the labs, where I was planning to add new drawings/prints made during the residency, much as I do in my studio. What if I also added some of my earlier work, that connects to this current residency? Some paper moulds, made out of different types of pulp using natural materials come to mind. They were tests made during a paper making workshop focusing on Japanese paper making materials - I am using Japanese paper for the Takuhon prints because of its strength and delicacy.

Laboratory [Drawing] Life is a collaboration between King's College London's Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy and Dr. David Hay,

brokered and supported by the Culture team at King's.

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