The show started last week and is a group show I am in with 5 other artists at the Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury. We have been collaborating with the University of Kent Bio science dept for nearly a year and a half on this project and is based on the 30th anniversary of the PCR machine. The machine is basically a little oven and is used to amplify segments of DNA. Because significant amounts of a sample of DNA are necessary for molecular and genetic analyses, studies of isolated pieces of DNA are nearly impossible without PCR amplification. Often heralded as one of the most important scientific advances in molecular biology, PCR revolutionized the study of DNA to such an extent that its creator, Kary B. Mullis, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993. Apparently he was a good surfer as well.
Just finished these four ‘Church Kneelers’ or prayer mats for a show at the Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury. Actually they were made by my Mum and her friends (experts in Tapestries, thankyou so much !). The show is a culmination of nearly two years collaborating with the Bio science dept at Kent University. The exhibition is based around the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) machine developed 30 years ago.
PCR is a process of copying DNA, amplifying specific sequences of As, Cs, Gs and Ts – the chemical alphabet that makes up the genetic code ( the names on the church kneelers). It does so by making millions of identical copies of the original ‘template’ sequence. It allows the detection and analysis of vanishingly small quantities of DNA, and in combination with a vast array of add-on technologies it is a central part of biomedical research. Applications are endless – forensic detection, disease diagnosis, food safety testing, therapeutic protein production, biotechnology, to name only a few.
The title ‘Angela The Curious Goat’ is a way students remember the 4 Amino Acids that make up our DNA.
Researching into Laboratory practise in the Bioscience dept I came across many rituals that scientists use in working with a PCR machine (they can be very temperamental).
As you can see from my previous post I spend a lot of time in Churches, restoring wall paintings and I often look at the kneelers at lunch and tea breaks and think of the thought and time that goes into making, and using them. So I felt this was perhaps an interesting way to represent how both science and religion rely on rituals and habits in their daily activities.
I have also made a series of paintings for the show which I will post up soon . I would like visitors to the show to use the kneelers to look at the paintings but I don’t think the Gallery is going to go for it.. shame.