In March 2009 the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) and the University of Cambridge opened the ambitious and experimental multi-disciplinary exhibition Assembling Bodies: Art, Science & Imagination.
Kinetica partnered with these organisations, bringing five kinetic sculptures by artists Jim Bond, Dianne Harris, Tim Lewis and Michael Market, including two pieces specially commissioned for the exhibition, which were distributed throughout the gallery. The exhibition brought together a range of remarkable and distinctive objects, including the earliest stone tools used by human ancestors, classical sculptures, medieval manuscripts, anatomical drawings, scientific instruments, the model of the double helix, ancestral figures from the Pacific, South African body-maps and, crucially, kinetic art.
The aim of the Assembling Bodies was to reveal and challenge preconceived notions of the human body by exploring different ways that bodies are imagined, understood and composed in the arts, social and bio-medical sciences.
The inclusion of kinetic art provided an opportunity for the exhibition team to work through and present complex conceptual ideas. The collaboration with Kinetica was part of the research process on which the exhibition was based, a combination of curatorial and artistic insights and practices that actively engaged with abstract ideas, revealing and mediating between different ways of knowing the body. During the process of developing the exhibition the notion of assembly emerged as a key theoretical concept as well as a crucial curatorial technique. Drawing on extraordinarily rich and diverse materials, the exhibition itself was constructed through an intensive process of assembly, reflection, and reassembly. The focus was not simply on the objects displayed, but on various technologies (social and technical) that make different kinds of bodies visible. The non-linear arrangement of Assembling Bodies, and the kinetic sculptures, described below, directly addressed the central puzzle of how heterogeneous and hybrid bodies are composed
Assembling Bodies was curated by Anita Herle, Mark Elliott and Rebecca Empson with the input of numerous artists and academic specialists.
For a full list of contributors click HERE
The exhibition was part of a larger 5-year Leverhulme Research project “Changing Beliefs of the Human Body”, involving colleagues in archaeology, social anthropology, classics, history and the Museum. The exhibition extended the parameters of the Leverhulme project to develop and incorporate research in visual arts, history of science and bio-medical sciences, with additional funding from Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust.