Artwork / Last Breaths
- Abstract: In 2021 Dement and Brown were awarded an ANAT Synapse Residency and CreateNSW grant to collaborate with Dr. Carmine Gentile and his Cardiovascular Regeneration Group, School of Bioengineering, University of Technology Sydney.
Cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction and heart failure, is the leading cause of death worldwide. Dr Gentile’s multidisciplinary team has created a novel way to 3D bioprint heart tissues using patients’ own cells to repair heart damage and regain cardiac muscle function. Cells isolated from skin or blood are used to generate stem cells and then transformed into heart cells. Using state-of-the-art facilities, Dr Gentile has developed a new way to form ‘cardiac spheroids’–clusters of cardiac cells–which contract or beat synchronously to produce patches for damaged hearts.
May 2021 artist George Schwarz died from cardiac failure and Linda recorded his last breaths. Audio values were retrieved to generate sequential images of 2D geometry. We imported these images into 3D Slicer (software normally used to create 3D models from MRI or CT scans) as if we had run an MRI scan on sound rather than a body.
We printed models first in hydrogel to discover shape, consistency, size, and then with live cardiac spheroids, on a LumenX bioprinter which uses crossbeams of light to harden light sensitive gel, printing upwards in 100 micron layers, substance emerging from liquid under violet light.
Through this project, human cardiac failure, expelled as breath and recorded as sound, is transfigured to 3D form as terra-firma for growth of human yet inhuman life.
This artwork responds to the research of the Cardiovascular Regeneration Group. Their work traverses terrains of life and death, bodies and technologies, human and inhuman, the strained edges of wounded hearts and the stretching extremities of bio-technical possibility.
More information: http://heartproject2021.blog.anat.org.au/, http://lindadement.com/, https://www.gentilelab.com/
- Biography: Linda Dement has worked in arts computing since the late 1980s, at the intersections of bodies and technologies, code and flesh, dramas of the corporeal and programmed non-human activity. Her work has been widely exhibited internationally and locally, including at the ICA London, Ars Electronica, ISEA.
Dr Paul Brown is a scientist, writer, artist, and creative producer. For over thirty years he has integrated multi-arts practice, filmmaking and community engagement with university research and teaching – across humanities, environment, science and community development fields, specialising in projects that link arts, science, and environment.
Dr Carmine Gentile is a Senior Lecturer within the School of Biomedical Engineering UTS and leads the Cardiovascular Regeneration Group both at UTS and at the Kolling Institute/University of Sydney. He is a Senior Lecturer (Honorary) at the University of Sydney, a Sydney Medical School Foundation Fellow and Visiting Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School.
The artists would like to thank Clara Liu Chung Ming for assistance with cell cultivation and microscopy.
This project is supported by the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) via its Synapse program, and the NSW Government through Create NSW; and by the Cardiovascular Regeneration Group, University of Technology Sydney.
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