Blood Wars

Blood Wars

Date posted: 2011-02-11 13:17:05

Artist Statement

by Kathy High

In the last ten years I have become interested in working with living systems, biology and art. Working with "live" materials raises ethic and aesthetic questions that I had not considered while working with electronic media. My work has changed from single channel video works, to creating environments and using space/sculpture/performance to engage with life science.

In 2009 and 2010 as part of a 2010 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, I spent a total of 5 months in artist residency with SymbioticA at the School of Anatomy and Human Biology, University of Western Australia. From their website: "SymbioticA is an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning, critique and hands-on engagement of the life sciences. SymbioticA is the first research laboratory of its kind, in that it enables artists and researchers to engage in wet biology practices in a biological science department."

This research has lead me to consider materiality much more than previously in my work. As it is the physical matter before us that we will react to – not an image or reproduction of it. This vitalism is exhibited with past pieces like Embracing Animal where I exhibited live transgenic rats. With Blood Wars the act of taking blood and working with that medium is critical to understanding how precious a fluid it really is. To me these are the most successful parts of the works because of the actuality of the living material on site. These materials act as a trigger to the viewer.

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