boredomresearch solo exhibition Restless Balance is at the Arizona State University (ASU) Art Museum, Arizona from the 5 Dec 2020 until the 24 April 2021.
From the textbooks of ancient Greek physician Hippocrates to current research on the coronavirus pandemic, we know that human health is impacted by environmental factors. boredomresearch have collaborated with leading science institutions over the past decade to create dynamic video installations that explore how large scale environmental changes have altered disease transmission. In 2019 they worked with the researchers at the Arizona Cancer Evolution Center at the ASU Biodesign Institute on radically new ways of thinking about cancer treatment. This exhibition is the US premiere of the resulting video installation, In Search of Chemozoa, along with three striking earlier works based upon animated robots navigating Venice’s polluted canals, flight patterns of mosquitos carrying malaria and intertidal snails adjusting to changed coastal conditions.
Often we think of balance as a steady position arising from an equal relationship between conflicting forces. This idea of stillness offers a potent sedative against a contrary concern that our lives can be unsettled by forces beyond our control. With the first recognition by Hippocrates that human health is subject to environmental factors we now find ourselves increasingly conscious of a destabilized natural order. Aware that our own actions are contrary to those that improve our position, a desire for an increasingly elusive solid ground, sought as an essential basis for stability, has become a restless pursuit for balance. In epidemiology current research looks to understand how large scale changes in agriculture, favoring monocultures, have changed the dynamics of disease transmission, possibly increasing the risk of new diseases spilling into the human population. While at an entirely different scale, ideas from ecology, which recognize the value of polycultures, are suggesting radically new ways of thinking about cancer treatment. Where dangerous mutations are kept in check by those more easily controlled. Common to both is a profound realization that balance is a dynamic quality. To be sought but never found. A quest without conclusion; but one that will serve us well if we allow it to guide us through our lives.
In Search of Chemozoa was commissioned and funded by the Arizona Cancer Evolution Center (ACE), a new center established through an award from the National Institute of Health/National Cancer Institute and housed at the Biodesign Institute at ASU and film production was supported by an Arts Council of England National Lottery Project Grant. The Restless Balance exhibition is co-presented by the ASU Art Museum and co-curated by Pamela Winfrey, Scientific Research Curator, ACE; Heather Sealy Lineberry, Curator Emeritus, and Brittany Corrales, Curator, at the ASU Art Museum.