"Sound of Cells Dividing" (2008-2009)
Hand Made Paper, Film
The work is a free standing screen (soft sculpture?), approx. 10' tall, assembled in a half circle shape. Impressively, the artist made all the paper by hand. As you approach the screen, a ringing is emitted from speakers, that are embedded in the layers of paper. On the other side of the screen, a projected video plays in a continuous 12 minute loop. The content of the video is excerpts from over 200 hours of recorded footage from a stereo-microscope, of human cells dividing. The really cool part is that the sound actually is the recorded sound of the cellular activity. The tape switches over after 6 minutes, from footage of healthy cells to cancer cells, and the audio recording switches as well. The nearly melodic ringing becomes an agitated clicking sound, abruptly altering the viewers impression of the footage.
I chose this piece because I thought the use of multimedia was orchestrated to an interesting allegorical effect. The double layer paper screen, with it's fleshy texture, gives the sense of a multi-layered cell wall. Within it lies all the workings of the cell itself. The screen isolates the viewer with the video and sound. Confronted with the footage, the effect is at once intimate, alien, and entirely sublime. The sublime quality is also reinforced by the massive scale of the work. The composition has a conceptual unity, that is derived from the use of a variety of materials. It integrates negative space into an interactive work that forces the viewer to explore it's dimensions.