Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Health and Humanities Seminar: Bodily Matters V - Emotive Matter: Blood & Tears

18 May 2016, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Laughing Tears - Rose-Lynn Fisher

Event Information

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IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building

In this penultimate seminar in the Bodily Matters series, LA-based artist Rose-Lynn Fisher will present on her photographic series Topography of Tears, exploring the myriad emotional states that provoke human tears, and their unique and surprisingly aesthetic microscopic formations. Cambridge University anatomist and medical illustrator Emily Evans will join the discussion on emotive bodily matters, focusing on the visceral potential of human blood to provoke strong emotional reactions, and as a potent symbolic medium in contemporary art practice.

Guests will also have the opportunity to view a small exhibition of specimens from UCL Pathology Collections, which will be on display as part of Dr. Angel's ongoing research project Looking, Feeling, Knowing: The politics of seeing in relation to medical collections of human remains after the Human Tissue Act.

Please register here.

Emily EvansBloody Good Art

From medicine to the macabre, horror movies to the holy, it's undeniable that we love to be shocked by blood. In this talk, Emily Evans will explore a range of artworks by artists who use human blood in their work. Drawing on her own experiences of working with blood, she discusses why it's such an emotive medium. From surgeons who create sketches with their patients' blood, to artists who use the blood of gay men as a political statement, we ask the question; is it's beauty and validity of use in art outweighed by it's power?

Rose-Lynn Fisher - Topography of Tears

Topography of Tears is a study of 100 tears photographed through an optical microscope. The project began in a period of personal change, loss, and copious tears. The series comprises a wide range of my own and others' tears, from elation to onions, as well as sorrow, frustration, rejection, resolution, laughing, yawning, birth and rebirth, and many more, each a tiny history. The random compositions I find in magnified tears often evoke a sense of place, like aerial views of emotional terrain. Although the empirical nature of tears is a chemistry of water, proteins, minerals, hormones, antibodies and enzymes, the topography of tears is a momentary landscape, transient as the fingerprint of someone in a dream. This series is like an ephemeral atlas.

Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage. They are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Wordless and spontaneous, they release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis: shedding tears, shedding old skin. It's as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.

IMAGE CREDIT: Laughing Tears, Rose-Lynn Fisher - Human tears viewed through optical microscope (2013).

Presenter Biographies

Emily Evans (BSc PGCE MMAA RMIP) is an Anatomist and Medical illustrator. Alongside running her business as a medical illustrator in London, Emily is also senior demonstrator of anatomy at Cambridge University, UK. Additionally, Emily is the author and illustrator of 'Anatomy in Black', owner and designer at Anatomy Boutique, Artist in Residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum, NY and a Member of the Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain, the Institute of Anatomical Sciences and the Anatomical Society. Her medical illustration and art can be viewed at emilyevansillustration.com

Rose-Lynne Fisher is an artist from Los Angeles, working in photography and mixed media. Measured in magnifications or miles, her art explores a sense of place along the micro/macro continuum in series that include microscopic tears, bone, bees, as well as aerial photography. She is the author of the photography book, BEE, the honeybee viewed in magnifications of 10x to 5000x via scanning electron microscope. Her work has been featured in print and online magazines including Smithsonian Magazine, The New Yorker, and Wired, and Harper's, among many others. Her exhibition history includes Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Boston Museum of Science, and other museums of art, science, natural history, and anthropology, in the United States, Germany, Japan, Canada, Israel, and France. She is represented by Craig Krull Gallery in Los Angeles. Ms Fisher is currently at work on a book of the tears. Further information may be found at www.rose-lynnfisher.com