“Laura Splan: Rhapsody for an Expanded Biotechnological Apparatus”
Tang Teaching Museum, Elevator Music Series
Saratoga Springs, NY (US)
Exhibition Extended Through May 15, 2022
“Elevator Music 42: Laura Splan—Rhapsody for an Expanded Biotechnological Apparatus” presents the artist’s sound and sculptural work, reenvisioning the Tang’s elevator as an organism’s cell and its visitors as proteins. The installation presents the sound work “Chaperone” and the interactive sculpture “Lumen”, offering a sonic and tactile journey through a biotech lab where Splan spent several months in Spring 2018 as artist-in-residence. In “Chaperone”, the buzzing of specialized laboratory equipment, chatter of scientists, and countless other unidentifiable, fragmented sounds coalesce and disperse, their arrangement following the structure of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Methodical instructions guide visitors to remove shoes and sit cross-legged on “Lumen”, a rug made from the wool of laboratory llamas and alpacas. These instructions choreograph visitors’ movements to embody the folding of proteins inside a cell’s lumen. Through this multi-sensory experience, visitors are encouraged to contemplate the unseen labor of animals—whose unique antibodies, a type of protein, are commonly used in biological research and medicines, including vaccines—and the day-to-day procedures of scientists creating life-saving treatments.
The multipurpose nature of the Tang Teaching Museum’s design includes the elevator, which is the site of an exhibition series of sound art installations called Elevator Music.