An MIT and Harvard Medical School research affiliate and world-renowned pioneer in the emerging field of bio-art, Joe Davis will reveal his newest installation, “Hidden Knowledge,” created in collaboration with Mines students, at 5 p.m. Friday, April 5, in the Apex Gallery on the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology campus.
A film screening of HEAVEN + EARTH + JOE DAVIS, a documentary by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Peter Saskowsky will follow the artist reception, accompanied by a Q&A with both men.
Ranging from placing a map of the Milky Way into the ear of a transgenic mouse (where the genes of one species are placed inside the cells of another) to transforming light information into sound in order to hear living cells, Davis' artwork and research probes the fields of molecular biology, bioinformatics, sculpture and space art, using tools as diverse as centrifuges, radios, prosthetics and magnetic fields of genetic materials.
Davis’ newest installation proves to be just as unorthodox. Partnering with Mines students, he will stamp around 500 stones with the DNA sequence of the wild apple Malus sieversii – the first apple to ever exist. Until now, the wild apple’s DNA had never been sequenced, allowing Davis’ project to also serve as a test bed for next-generation nanopore DNA sequencing technology. After the exhibit ends, the stones will be transferred to the courtyard of Chemical and Biological Engineering/Chemistry building, a fitting tribute to the work unfolding within.
His art has not gone unnoticed. In 2012 he won the Golden Nica Prix at Ars Electronica Hybrid Art for his piece Bacterial Radio. His exhibits have appeared around the world, most recently in Saudi Arabia, the Bauhaus in Germany, Rome and Paris. And articles in current issues of both Discover and ARTnews reveal that Davis’ compelling and often controversial work has enraptured scientists and artists alike, including filmmaker Peter Saskowsky.
Released in 2010 to international critical acclaim, Saskowsky’s HEAVEN + EARTH + JOE DAVIS documents Davis’ drive to discover humanity’s place in the universe, tracing the achievements and sacrifices of his quest: a rebellious youth, near homelessness, losing his leg, abandonment by his wife and child and his tenacious pursuit of a position at MIT.
The week’s schedule includes:
Wednesday, April 3
• Film screening of HEAVEN + EARTH + JOE DAVIS, Q&A with Davis: 6 p.m., Dahl Art Center
Thursday, April 4
• Understanding Exohexahedra, public lecture by Davis: noon, SDSM&T Classroom Building, room 327
Friday, April 5
• Opening reception for Hidden Knowledge: 5 p.m., Apex Art Gallery
• Film screening of HEAVEN + EARTH + JOE DAVIS, Q&A with Saskowsky and Davis: 6 p.m., Classroom Building, room 201