title. trafficking | transmission | translation

with Tracy Redhead

date. 2022—

single channel HD video, 6 channel audio, ~15:00

Trafficking | Transmission | Translation is an audiovisual installation with 6 channel sound. We are developing poetic connections for medical nanotechnologies, such as the engineered lipid technologies that deliver Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to human muscle cells, across the molecular, human and geopolitical scales. Evolving out of Andrea Rassell’s creative practice-led research project Fear of Entropy: Media art, biopolitics and the public perception of medical nanotechnology, this artwork is a creative practice-led research collaboration with dynamic music researcher Tracy Redhead. Trafficking | Transmission | Translation is a hybrid work that enfolds aspects of documentary practice, experimental video, scientific imaging, data sonification and electronic composition.

 

We draw upon Nuclear Magnetic Resonance data collected during the chemical synthesis of a dendronised polymer at the University of Western Australia’s School of Molecular Sciences by our scientific collaborator Lennart Schaefer. These polymers are representative of the types of medical nanotechnologies that are enabling increasing levels of control of the human body at the nanoscale, including the ability to traffic drugs or genetic material across cell walls. These synthesised technologies are too small to be visualised with scientific visualisation techniques and therefore fall outside of a public visual perception, however, the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance data, which is collected over multiple generations of the molecule’s growth in the laboratory, are complex spectra that lend themselves to sonic representation, which is being developed during our time at the Lawrence Wilson Gallery.

 

This work explores how these emerging medical technologies perform across the molecular, individual human, and geopolitical scales. The project questions the nature of the relationship between medical nanotechnology and human life: What are the implications of allowing nanotechnologies to infiltrate our various systems, biological, medical and legal? What are the social, political and cultural implications when we hand control of human bodies to molecular nanotechnologies?