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Exhibition at York City Screen

Symbiosis: Social Experiments with Living Sculptures

Exhibition of selected prints at York City Screen Picture House

27 March- 7 April 2015

Symbiosis: Social experiments with Living Sculptures is a science-art project by artist Laurence Payot in collaboration with evolutionary scientists Michael Brockhurst, Ewan Minter and Duncan Cameron from the Universities of York and Sheffield. Using symbiotic relationships in science as a model, the work explores how artworks and audiences can co-exist and shape each other.

Experiments are being carried out with members of the public to test out what happens when people and artworks collide and to explore the emotional and intuitive power of art to engage the public with the scientific research.

As the role of symbiotic systems within the body increasingly shapes our understanding of human health (e.g. mitochondrial diseases, intestinal microbes), mutualism on a global scale also seems to become a contemporary debate for the survival of our species on earth. This project takes the micro as a staring point, using the human scale as a metaphor for our connections on a macro scale.

For this presentation at City Screen, Laurence Payot presents selected photographs from a piece of work developed in York. Groups of families and friends were presented with a flexible long rope of glow in the dark beads and asked to create forms in space to reveal their connections with each other.

The lines appearing in darkness amongst the participants’ bodies become a constantly moving drawing, transformed by people’s emotions and intuitive responses. The ever-changing lines breathe like a living organism, dependent on people to keep alive, while in turn giving them an highlighted sense of being together here and now and revealing invisible but vital social connections.