"The Romantic Disease: An Artistic Investigation of Tuberculosis" is a solo exhibition by Anna Dumitriu, an ‘open lab’ workshop, and a one day symposium taking place at Watermans in London, UK, funded by The Wellcome Trust.
This exhibition takes the form of an art/science investigation into mankind’s strange relationship with ‘the Romantic Disease’ Tuberculosis (TB) from early superstitions about the disease, through the development of antibiotics, to the latest research into whole genome sequencing of bacteria.
Anna Dumitriu has been working with TB specialists and researchers from the UK Clinical Research Consortium: Modernising Medical Microbiology Project including Dr John Paul and Professor Derrick Crook, and many other collaborators, to create a significant new body of work to widen public engagement in the issues around this clinically and culturally significant disease.
The exhibition involves a series of installations created various strains of Mycobacteria (sterilised and made safe prior to exhibition) combined with a fascinating collection of altered historical artifacts and objects that tell the story of our understanding of the romantic disease from prehistory until today. Dumitriu has developed a series of textile installations stained with bacteria dyes patterned using antibiotic ‘resists’, which focus on the relationship of early antibiotics, such as Prontosil, to chemical dyes.
The process of developing the work involves an intensive residency in the TB laboratory at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, shadowing researchers and clinical specialists in their work.
Project collaborators/advisers also include Professor Melanie Newport and Professor Bobbie Farsides from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Dr Carole Reeves and Dr Helen Donoghue from University College London and the charity Target TB.
15th January 2014 Evening Opening Reception 6-9pm
16th January 2014 – 24th March 2014 Open Daily
Watermans, 40 High Street,
West London, UK, TW8 0DS
'Open Lab' Workshop
5 x Saturdays, 11am - 5pm, on 15th and 22nd February, 1st, 15th and 22nd March 2014
During the exhibition Dumitriu will lead an intensive workshop over five Saturdays, in collaboration with Dr Simon Park and Dr Melissa Grant. The workshop aims to significantly progress techniques and methods for artistic engagement with bacteria. Participants will work with live bacteria, dyes, stitch, and natural and clinical antibiotics. The workshops will make reference the historical objects in the exhibition, and practical experiments will form the basis for discussion.
The workshop is open to deeply interested and engaged members of the public, artists, designers, scientists and researchers – but no prior experience is needed in the specific field. The environment will be supportive and debates and discussions will be open-minded. Places are very limited and participants are expected to commit to attend all five sessions. See here for more information and to book a place.
Symposium - The Romantic Disease: An Art and Science Investigation
11am - 5pm - 24th March 2014
The project will culminate in a fascinating and accessible multidisciplinary symposium on World TB day 2014 bringing together the project team and advisers to tell stories of their own relationships to the disease across art, science, ethics and healthcare, with opportunities for debate and discussion.
Anna Dumitriu (Artist who created “The Romantic Disease: An Artistic Investigation of Tuberculosis) will discuss the project and the inspiration behind this new body of work.
Dr John Paul (UK CRC Modernising Medical Microbiology Project, and long term collaborator with Anna Dumitriu) will discuss the place of TB in the natural history of bacteria and how whole genome sequencing of bacteria is revolutionising our understanding of the disease.
Professor Bobbie Farsides (Professor of Ethics Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and collaborator with Anna Dumitriu on “Trust me, I’m an artist”) will discuss TB and the humanities.
Professor Melanie Newport (Professor in Infectious Diseases & Global Health at Brighton and Sussex Medical School) will speak about the latest research into TB in global medicine.
Dr Carole Reeves (Senior Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies, University College London) will speak about her research into the stories of The Children of Crag-y-nos and her investigation of a lost Tuberculosis treatment.
Dr Simon Park (Microbiologist and Artist, University of Surrey, one of the ‘Open Lab’ workshop leaders, and a collaborator with Anna Dumitriu) will discuss his own artistic research.
Target Tuberculosis (a charity providing treatment, care and support in Africa and Asia) will discuss the challenges they face in developing countries and their perspectives on the exhibition.
Dr Simon Hall (Medical Doctor and Artist) will discuss the role of art in communicating issues in medicine and how this can be used in the medical training.
The event will be followed by a drinks reception.
Book tickets here. The nominal ticket price of £10 covers refreshments during the day and includes a donation to Target Tuberculosis, if you can give more to this incredible charity for their stunning work then please choose the donation ticket and give as much as you can. In cases of hardship contact the organiser and the fee can be waived.