By Angela McQuillan
The Science Center and Integral Molecular are happy to announce and welcome Orkan Telhan as the initial resident artist of our new BioArt Residency Program. This is considered to be a pilot residency and we are all going through an intense learning process getting it up and running. We will be documenting its growth and following our resident’s progress as it develops weekly, so please stay tuned for regular updates.
Upon acceptance to the program, Orkan took a tour of the laboratory facilities, got a brief run-down of all the equipment, and was given the opportunity to ask any questions. Then, the real work begins! One of the most challenging aspects of the BioArt Residency Program, is for the artists to narrow down their field of focus, and come up with a project based on utilizing state of the art equipment at The Science Center, some they may have never used before, and explore new concepts aligned with their current artistic practice.
Orkan has been working with synthetic biology and the evolution of human taste for a while (see Bananaworks), so it was only natural for him to want to pursue research focusing on taste during his time at Integral Molecular. He is interested in the taste receptors and mechanisms of the human tongue. Everyone is familiar with what a tongue looks like to the naked eye, but there is nothing that visually depicts what is happening on a chemical level when we taste things.
Scientists use graphs and data visualizations to measure these chemical reactions, but Orkan is interested in developing a more intuitive representation of the invisible nature of the tongue and exploring what kind of alternative forms it can take.
Over the next few weeks Orkan will be consulting with various experts from Integral Molecular at The Science Center to get a better sense of how this project will take shape and which equipment is suitable to accomplish his goals. Stay tuned for more progress, and don't miss his Artist Lecture on Tuesday, October 3rd. Register Here