Art Project: We are Leishmania and we will travel

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A commission with NEON and The Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research at Dundee University. The work will launch in Dundee and online in November 2018, as part of NEoN Digital Arts Festival under its theme of lifespans. Considering the lifespan of the parasite that causes Leishmaniasis, the work takes a playful approach to how the sand fly transmits the parasite, and how the parasite transforms itself to live in different hosts – both animal and human.

Avoiding excessive anthropomorphism was a challenge but in the end it went down that route! Considering the audience this seemed the best route.  Seeing the world through the perspective of  travelling Leishmania was the goal. Several travel themes were developed relating to history, the lab, the insect vector and the human.  Sand_flyer was done in my lab, the journey of Leishmania through my lab as it came out of cryopreservation, into culture then prepared to be suspended in blood in a membrane feeder and fed on by sandflies. I wrote the hashtags to accompany the insta. Leishmania.we was also a storyline I developed around the travels of Leishmania in the wild.  I used some video that I took in Teresina NE Brazil during a sandfly collecting visit a few years ago.  I also made some video in the Tuscan countryside this year using a close up lens attached to my iPhone! There happened to be sand flies in the rental villa, so it was authentic!

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