Analysing DNA that is shed via the breath makes explicit the permeable nature of our bodies, and the unseen ways we are in constant exchange with human and non-human others.
Human DNA exhaled in our outbreaths, and inhaled by others in their inbreaths, is a little-known form of DNA shedding, although viral shedding from human outbreaths has become intensely scrutinised during the current pandemic.
In the video 93% Human, Artist Helen Pynor and collaborator genomics scientist and bioinformatician Jimmy Breen use a scientific glassware condenser device, which converts gaseous breath into liquid, to capture a shared breath sample, from which their exhaled breath DNA is later extracted, sequenced and analysed.
This artwork has resulted from Pynor’s ANAT (Art Science Technology) – SAHMRI (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) Artist Residency.
The lightbox image, Breathwork is a metaphoric exploration of the body’s permeability, focusing on lungs as the site for the creation of breath and for material exchange between self and world.
Artist: Helen Pynor
Scientist: Jimmy Breen
Helen Pynor uses art and science to explore ambiguous transitional states, such as the life-death boundary, the interpersonal nature of organ transplantation, and the animate/inanimate boundary in relation to medical implants.
She is recipient of an Honorary Mention at the internationally prestigious Prix Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria and has exhibited at ISEA International Symposium on Electronic Arts, Beijing Media Art Biennale, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, FACT Foundation for Art and Creative Technology UK, Science Gallery London, and Wellcome Collection, London.
For more information: helenpynor.com/works.html
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