Poet Melissa Bailey asked me to collaborate with her on the design an installation that represents DNA and it’s unchecked mutations that can lead to cancer. She wanted a sculpture related to her poetry and also a place where one could listen to the poetry.
We asked genetic scientist Fiona Moorman to join our team to advise how best and most accurately to represent the complexity of DNA when it replicates and mutates.
After looking at several options we agreed that a large scale, walk-through linear sculpture best represented the strands of DNA. The two complimentary strands of DNA were the two sides of the narrow and sinuous walkway. The structure is made of scaffolding to represent the skeletal backbone and the paired bases are fabric strips wrapping around the scaffolding.
The sculpture is meant to go in public spaces such as town squares where there will be the possibility of as much interest ion with the public as possible – both with those coming to walk through it but also the people cutting through as they go about their daily business and inadvertently trigger a mutation in the DNA strand. Both the Royal Botanic Gardens and Summerhall in Edinburgh were hoping to host the sculpture.