New Thoughts New Works

Issue 35 August 2017

Shiver (and more)

Visual artist Elaine Whittaker considers biology as contemporary art practice. Her artworks are an intersection of art, science, medicine and ecology, exploring the forces that make us human, from the foundational processes and materials needed to form an organism, to the microscopic world of cellular ecologies. Her practice is principally based in installation, and includes sculpture, painting, drawing, digital imagery and sound. Recent works have centred on the aesthetics of disaster, the fear of pandemics, and on the body as a site of infection reflecting narratives and elements of anxiety that are found in popular culture, scientific research, and personal experience.

Exploring the Contradictions of Living

“Utilizing a dialectical approach in both my studio practice and research, my aim is to move beyond the contemporary paradigm of postmodernism towards an artistic discourse that oscillates between a “modern enthusiasm and postmodern irony,” between unity and multiplicity, totality and fragmentation, clarity and ambiguity, and reason and romanticism.”

Jared Vaughan Davis often deals with topics ranging from epistemology, mythology, ancient and modern cosmology, and the science of ‘belief’.

The Search for a Brave New World Aesthetic

Jasmine Pradissitto describes herself as “a practising Quantum Artist and Creativity Warrior”, a “painter who sculpts with light and colour using the scientific knowledge accumulated over years of experience”, creating ‘holograms you can touch’. Forms inspired by nature, the human condition and scientific breakthroughs, are melted and reshaped from plastics into sculptures as a commentary on an ever increasingly Anthropocene world.

Manifest Expressions

Laura Splan’s work explores intersections of art, science, technology and craft. Her conceptually based projects examine the material manifestations of our mutable relationship with the human body. She examines perceptions and representations of the corporeal with a range of traditional and new media techniques. She often combines the quotidian with the unfamiliar to explore culturally constructed notions of order and disorder, function and dysfunction. Her frequent combinations of textiles with technology challenge values of the “the hand” in creative production and question notions of agency and chance in aesthetics. Much of her work is inspired by experimentation with materials and processes, which she mines for their narrative implications and untapped potentials. Her recent work currently on view at NYU Langone Medical Center Art Gallery (New York, NY) uses biosensors to create data-driven forms and patterns for digitally fabricated sculptures, tapestries and works on paper. She is currently developing a series of durational performances with biosensor actuated sculptures and sound.


In 2017, artist Sarah Craske has been in the depths of a synthetic biology lab, working in the Bioprocess Laboratory (BPL), ETH Zürich in Basel, Switzerland as part of the Biofaction Artist in Residence programme. She had been invited to work alongside research scientists and bioengineers who had participated in the research project SYNPEPTIDE. This 4-year programme aimed to design new peptides that could stop bacterial cell function, with the hope to find potentially new antibiotics as part of the broader fight against antibiotic resistance.

Old New Beginnings

Udit Mahajan is an experience-interaction designer, creative technologist and new media artist based in New York, with a background in electrical engineering from India. He is interested in the use of design and technology for multi-modal digital and physical interactions, narratives, experiences and interfaces.

Expanding the Circle

The Enso, Japanese for circle, is an inspiration for imagery in the work of Karen Margolis. A sacred symbol in Zen Buddhism, embodying infinity and perfection, she is attracted to this mystical aspect as well as the paradox of imperfection, and she reinterprets the circle in both positive and negative space, in a struggle between destruction and creation, as a shared language connecting body to mind.

Music Notes

While attending grad school at NYU, I also took piano classes. I loved learning Baroque pieces from JS Bach, Henry Purcell, and Domenico Scarlatti. When the pieces were originally composed, the piano didn’t exist yet, and they were primarily written for a harpsichord which doesn’t allow for much tonality There is something very fascinating to […]