Beginning a remote residency, as a very hands-on and personable artist, is certainly a juicy challenge. Infectious diseases are not new, however in this amorphous moment it feels important to be expanding vocabulary around health and disease by developing interdisciplinary relationships.
My first steps in this process were to send out personal invitations to a list of researchers from the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (WCAIR,) with the hope of sparking interest in a creative art science conversation. If I am honest, this experience was like sending out party invitations for an underground event at an undisclosed location: the coordinates a mystery even to myself. A vulnerable position. Yet, with a spirit of genuine care and curiosity, I am eagerly anticipating a response. The computer screen can confirm that ‘someone should let me into the meeting soon.’
In a 2020 pandemic context, the waiting room and indeed the meeting room is my studio. In theory I don’t need to travel miles to be face to face with a scientific researcher. With the press of a button they can step through the portal direct to my creative safe space, and me into their homes. You can’t tell me that that is not an amazing position!
I’m hand sewing face masks as I wait for access into a closed meeting, preparing myself as Scotland begins to cautiously re-open its doors after four months of lockdown. I can’t help but see the parallels between my protective semi-permeable membranes and the layers of access and protection between myself and this meeting.
It will take time to build connection and the boundaries of a safe container between myself and the WCAIR team that choose to join this experimental party. However, I am confident that artist and scientist are two professional labels attached to curious human beings with a passion for discovery. Together we will find a way to connect and I am very excited to share the journey with you.
As an artist, explorer and insatiably curious observer, I am so grateful to be here.