Trish Adams

Trish completed her Doctor of Visual Arts at Griffith University in 2005. Her thesis explored the impact on expressions and representations of corporeality of experimental techniques in biomedical engineering and involved a cross-disciplinary collaboration with a biomedical scientist at The University of Queensland. The practical outcomes of this research took the form of a three-part quasi-scientific parody of the nineteenth century search for the “vital force” through three interactive installations: ‘Temporal Intervals’ and ‘machina carnis’, both shown at the Brisbane Powerhouse and ‘Wave Writer’, shown at the International Symposium of Electronic Art, Tallinn, Estonia in 2004.

For the third installation: “machina carnis” Trish explored the impact of recent groundbreaking techniques in stem cell research. She was arguably the first artists to personalise her engagement with the scientific data by taking the source material from her own body in the form of unscreened cells. With the aid of her scientific collaborator stem cells from her blood sample were changed to beating cardiac cells in vitro; creating an innovative model where Trish became at once both artist/researcher and “human guinea pig”. Her use of human tissue and the subsequent immersive installation format in “machina carnis” also encouraged empathy between the viewer and the artwork; posing questions about what it means to be human in the twenty-first century, and the ways in which our understanding of ourselves will be changed by contemporary developments in biotechnology.

Through her observations of cellular behaviours under the microscope Trish developed an interest in the nature of consciousness. In order to further pursue this fascinating area she has become artist-in-residence at the Queensland Brain institute, The University of Queensland. Here Trish has been collaborating with the Visual & Sensory Neuroscience Group, under the leadership of Professor Mandyam Srinivasan, whose expertise is the cognitive and navigational abilities of the honey bee. Trish’s first artwork resulting from this collaboration was the DVD installation: “HOST”, shown at the University of Queensland Art Museum in 2008.

Trish has presented her research outcomes at conferences such as “Speculation and Innovation” and “ARC Biennial”, Brisbane, 2005; “New Constellations: Art, Science & Society”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2006; Perth Digital Art & Culture Conference, 2007 & ISEA2008.