Australia / United Kingdom
Dr Trish Adams is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, RMIT University School of Art, Melbourne and a visiting artist at both the Visual and Sensory Neuroscience Group, Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland and the Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe University.
Dr Trish Adams has worked at the art / science nexus for over ten years and her doctoral research project involved a cross-disciplinary collaboration with a biomedical scientist during which she explored the impact of experimental techniques in biomedical engineering on expressions of corporeality. Here, Trish personalised her engagement with the scientific data, and was arguably the first artist to take unscreened source material for her experiments from her own body in the form of adult stem cells from her blood.
During her research Trish poses questions about what it means to be human in the twenty-first century, and the ways in which our understanding of ourselves will be changed by contemporary biotechnical developments. Her ongoing interest in corporeality and constructs of the 'self' led her to explore virtual 'presence' in Second Life through the recent Mellifera project.
In addition to her artworks Trish has presented her research outcomes through publications and at conferences such as: New Constellations: Art, Science and Society, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2006; Perth Digital Art and Culture Conference, 2007; ISEA2008 and Eye of the Storm, Tate Britain, 2009.
Trish, in her four week residency, investigated the potentials of time-lapse microscopy at the image analysis and acquisition facility in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology. She also carried out preliminary research into 'hands on' tissue culture. Using the facilities provided at SymbioticA, time-lapse techniques of visualising the artist's cells were explored by observing the responses of buccal cells from her mouth.
Such first person research has continued to be an important focus of Trish’s art / science practice and this residency at SymbioticA marked her first experiments on her own cells. This was followed by observations of ‘apoptosis’ in fibroblast cells from her forearm and then experiments to change stem cells from her blood into beating cardiac cells in vitro. (Both these projects took place at the School of Biomedical Sciences, the University of Queensland as part of the artist’s doctoral research).
The use of time-lapse videomicrograph imagery also went on to form an integral part of Trish’s subsequent installations. For her, this methodology allowed the interactive installations – such as ‘machina carnis’ – to be structured in ways that enabled the viewer, through the unobtrusive use of programmed media technologies, to become a participant and bring the work to life.
Arts Queensland Digital Media Innovative Project grant
June – July 2001.