Human Cell Atlas ‘One Cell at a Time’ Public Engagement Commission (2021)

boredomresearch are pleased to announce their new commission with the Human Cell Atlas (HCA), an exciting global research project that aims to create comprehensive reference maps of all human cells to describe and define the cellular basis of health and disease. As part of the HCA public engagement program, One Cell at a Time, brings artist and scientist together to reflect on a ‘speculative normality’ defined by advancements in single cell analysis. boredomresearch have been collaborating with biomedical researchers based at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics of the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford, including Melanie Dunstan, a scientist who is investigating the genetics and molecular biology in autoimmune diseases. 

Exploring single cell analysis for their new artwork ‘Call of the Silent Cell’ boredomresearch are creating a cinematic expression informed by research on the cells of the immune system. Investigating how a new understanding of cells can inform our sense of self, both as beings made of cells and as individual parts of a wider ecological system. This artwork will form an allegory that reveals a wider conceptualisation of health across different frames of reference to extend the artists body of work centred on interconnectedness between environmental and biomedical health.

Call of the Silent Cell is being delivered in partnership with Fusion Arts alongside a series of online community workshops with boredomresearch in 2021. Participants will explore hybrid art and science, learning about cell biology research and applying creative understanding with custom software tools to create simulations of cellular interactions inspired by cytokine storms common to autoimmune disease and Covid-19.

boredomresearch HCA workshop software ‘Cytokine Storm’ in development (2021)

The One Cell at a Time arts and community project is part of a broader ambition of the Human Cell Atlas to engage more deeply with the public and is funded by Wellcome, and led by the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Dr Suzy O’Hara, One Cell at a Time project curator, said: “The Human Cell Atlas project is a revolutionary global research initiative that could transform the lives of every single one of us. With One Cell at a Time, we want to connect the public with the enormity and wonder of that. By creating a place where art and science intersect, we can also encourage a new way of thinking about the human body and our health and wellbeing.”


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