Human bodies contain seas and rivers. As two thirds water, divided into 97.5% saline and 2.5% freshwater fluids, our bodies mirror exactly the Earth’s liquid composition. These similarities remind us that all life emerged from water and continues to depend on it. Just as rivers are the veins of the earth that transport water and nutrients, so do human arteries channel vital fluids that irrigate and enliven our bodies.
Like rivers, our bodies contain multitudes. We rely on ecological communities of microorganisms for survival and less than half of our bodies are made up of human cells. What are the implications of this for how we think of humans’ place on the planet? How can exploring liquid forms of life help us establish a sense of care for the world around us? How do we understand what constitutes life across immense material and temporal scales? This talk brings together the microbiologist Professor Terry McGenity (School of Life Sciences, University of Essex) with the curators of Live Streams to explore the exhibition’s artworks from a microbiological perspective and to seek out common ground across disciplines as we confront questions of how to help life flourish and how to confront survival.
This event is in English, moderated by Lisa Blackmore, Diego Chocano and Emilio Chapela.
Image credit: Still from microscope film of water sample (2021). Courtesy of Diana Sánchez Lobo, Laboratorio de Hidrobiología, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia.
Live Streams is curated by Lisa Blackmore (School of Philosophy & Art History and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Essex), Diego Chocano (Assistant Curator of Essex Collection of Art from Latin America/University Art Collections) and Emilio Chapela (Artist and Research Assistant at the University of Essex). This website was built by David Medina.
Art Exchange is the University of Essex’s on-campus gallery dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art from emerging and established international artists. It is directed by Jess Twyman.