The project ‘Body Clocks’ continues a collaboration with Curator Kristin Hussey and researchers at the Novo Nordisk Foundation – Centre for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) into the study of circadian rhythms.
Our bodies are timepieces. In each of our cells, a clock ticks, keeping us in time with our environment. But what does the body clock look like? What does it mean to imagine our bodies functioning like clockwork? ‘Body Clocks’ consisting of multiple works is inspired by chronobiological research into circadian rhythms to explore the tension between internal and external time.
At The Danish Art Workshops I have been working on ‘Circling’, a series of large scale cyanotype banners featuring text inspired by interviews with circadian scientists at CBMR. The words compare the shift from day to night against the necessity (and impossibility) of keeping a constant rhythm for circadianand metabolic health.
The banners are created using the cyanotype process, referencing the role of cyanobacteria in chronobiology as an important model system for understanding the mechanisms of rhythmicity. The UV sensitive nature of the cyanotype process similarly reflects how our bodies’ circadian rhythms are driven by our exposure to daylight.
Creating multiple cyanotypes on textiles requires shift work similar to that experienced by chronobiologists when they work in the laboratory on a time-sensitive experiment. The fabric is washed, dried and cut to size, soaked in photosensitive solution for 12 hours, dried for 24 hours, exposed with a stencil under UV light for 30 minutes and the finally rinsed out and dried for a further 12 hours.
Due to their size, the banners are printed letter by letter and then sewn together. Each letter is a single print, the tone of the blue varying in intensity according to the light conditions as they dry, reflecting the shift in daylight throughout the day over the weeks they were made.