Christine Borland took the post of BALTIC Professor in November 2011. With colleagues from BALTIC and Northumbria Department of Arts, she initiated collaborative dialogue between the research and practice of the two institutions. These result in public events with an interdisciplinary focus, held at BALTIC & BALTIC 39.
Through her research process in laboratories, scientific and medical institutions, Christine Borland has often rendered visible people, subject matter and practices which are usually inaccessible to a general public. Her works foreground historical and contemporary scientific research and methods, while freeing their metaphorical associations by introducing the imaginary, the aesthetic and poetic.
‘Christine Borland has been exploring themes of creation and destruction through institutional (scientific/forensic/police) analysis and reconstitution since the early 1990s. Beginning with specific behavioural experiments in which objects were destroyed (by having bullets shot at them) to create hypothetical forensic material, she made a series of works in which she gathered together fragments and documentation in order to suggest the process of piecing together a jigsaw of significant evidence. The investigation into the possibilities of interpretation resulting from such a process culminated in From Life 1994, which was based on a skeleton acquired by the artist through a medical mail order service. With the help of several academic institutions Borland was able to discover basic biographical information about the person (female) originally incorporating the skeleton, and to have her face reconstructed in clay. From Life expresses Borland’s desire to bring out the personal aspects of a body which become hidden in hospital and forensic operations: ‘I think the ways that we are forced to be institutionalised or compartmentalised by the institutions surrounding the body – health, medicine, birth and death – is an important subject and one which we must try to repersonalise‘ (Virginia Button, ‘The Turner Prize, 20 Years)
Christine’s most recent on-going work (since 2011) is a collaborative project, Circles of Focus, with artist Brody Condon. By developing cross-disciplinary relationships and sharing their evolving research they have interrogated societal, artistic and ethical attitudes to death and the preservation of the body, exploring the potential of body donation for artistic as well as scientific research.
Meeting Place was a regular series of informal exchanges and conversations, held at BALTIC 39. These intimate Salon-style discussions were interdisciplinary and designed to explore the ways artists collaborate with experts in the fields of science, the environment, health and medicine to generate new research and artwork.
Developed by BALTIC Professor of Contemporary Art, Christine Borland and BALTIC Curator of Exhibitions & Research, Alessandro Vincentelli.
Christine Borland & Brody Condon, Fiona Crisp, Chris Dorsett
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead / Level 1
Saturday 7 – Thursday 12 September 2013
as part of British Science Festival
Symposium & Networking Event: Monday 9 September / 11.00–17.00
Following the HeLa performance, BALTIC Professor Christine Borland is joined by Professor Volker Straub and the writer and performer of HeLa, Adura Onashile, for a discussion concerning the issues raised in the work: genetic identity, social responsibility and current ethical debates about human tissue research and ownership.
Interview with Kirsty Wark
Generation project, 2014
Circles of Focus with Brody Condon, CCA 2015
(THIS FILM CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES IN THE ANATOMY LABORATORY)
Daughters of Decayed Tradesmen with Brody Condon, Edinburgh Arts Festival, 2013
Christine Borland and Brody Condon, Royal College of Art Lecture, Visual Cultures Series, 2014
Cast From Nature
Camden Arts Centre, 2012
SimBodies, NoBodies & Me
Glasgow School of Art