Abstract- Karen Ingham

A Ticket to The Theatre of The Dead: Re-framing Interdisciplinarity in the Bio-medical Theatre

Art and science share many commonalities, but they also share important theoretical differences, differences that may, through epistemological re-positioning, act as a source of trans-disciplinarity and creative tension. Focusing on a series of interventions which ‘re-place’, ‘re-site’ and ‘re-invigorate’ the normally exclusive spaces of medico-scientific research and museology, this poster suggests that by creating artworks in collaboration with contemporary bio-scientists, and then publicly exhibiting the works back in their site of origin (ie. the dissecting room or anatomical museum) a discourse is provoked between the mediated public perception of death, disease and bio-technology and the contemporary reality of medico-scientific research. To demonstrate this, the poster focuses on three collaborations: Seeds of Memory: art, neuroscience and botany (Arts & Humanities Research Board and Cardiff Neuroscience Research Group 2006); Vanitas: Seed-Head (Waag Anatomicum Amsterdam and Wales Arts International 2005); and Anatomy Lessons (The Wellcome Trust 2003-05). These examples demonstrate how collaboration across science, art, and technology, challenge and provoke common assumptions about art and bioscience, which are explored through collaborative practice and theoretical engagement with neurologists, neuro-psychologists, anatomists, botanists, stem-cell researchers, pharmacologists, and museum curators. Consequently, the poster suggests that through inter and trans-disciplinary practice and theoretical engagement, sites of static museology are made dynamic, and exclusive bio-technological domains of corporal performativity and investigation are re-invigorated and re-contextualised.