Out of over 110 applications, London-based artist Beatrice Haines has been selected to work within Abertay University’s ground-breaking forensic science department this summer, as the University’s artist-in-residence.
Spending up to four days in the lab with Dr Kevin Farrugia, Beatrice will explore the many ways in which print visualisation techniques – such as chemical enhancement and specialised photography – can be manipulated to recover finger and shoeprints from crime scenes.
The purpose of the residency is to produce a work of art that will be exhibited at the inaugural Print Festival Scotland – a celebration of the cultural diversity, historical significance and future potential of print.
The Festival will run alongside the world renowned Impact8 International Printmaking Conference, which will be held this year in Dundee.
Print Festival Scotland events will take place across the country, but Dundee has a particularly rich printing and printmaking heritage, and there is a strong link between these disciplines and the field of forensic science.
A multi-disciplinary artist, Beatrice is keen for the artwork she creates to reflect the scientific nature of the residency.
She intends to do this by creating a series of interactive, and potentially invisible, prints that will undergo a physical change as they are viewed, making the spectator feel as if they have taken part in a scientific experiment.
This will be achieved by treating the prints, made in diluted blood, with a substance such as Acid Yellow 7 – one of many chemicals used by forensic scientists to enhance latent fingerprints in blood at crime scenes.
The presence of Acid Yellow 7 on the print will mean that, when it is viewed under special lighting, it will fluoresce and bring the print to the fore so it can be seen for the first time by the naked eye.
Beatrice will have full use of the DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts) Print Studio to develop ideas inspired by her time in the lab.
The Print Studio has some of the best printmaking facilities in Scotland, from the traditional printing presses right up to the latest digital and electronic forms.
Speaking about why she applied for the residency and what she hopes to create, Beatrice Haines said:
“Scientific enquiry and, more specifically, forensics, has been an underlying inspiration in my artwork for many years, so when I discovered the chance to do a residency in a forensics lab I jumped at the opportunity.
“The links between forensics and printmaking (the study of fingerprints, shoe imprints, tyre prints etc) provides rich ground for an artist, so being able to create my artworks at DCA’s Print Studio and exhibit them at Impact8 is really exciting.
“With the artwork I create, I want the viewer to experience the same sensation that I had looking through a microscope for the first time – that a secret has suddenly been exposed. So the idea of being able to create something that suddenly materialises or, at the very least, changes, right before people’s eyes, will, hopefully, capture their imaginations.
“As well as the prints, I hope to make some sculpture for the residency which, like the prints, will physically change as people look at them. I’m really looking forward to getting started with this – I’ve never witnessed the functionings of a working lab before, so it’ll be fascinating getting to see behind the scenes and getting the chance to experiment with the new techniques I learn about.”
Applications for the residency came from all over the world, including Thailand, Brazil, Australia, the USA, Taiwan, Serbia, Ukraine, Hong Kong and many more.
Proposals were from artists working in sound design, sculpture, print, painting, performance, photography, as well as interactive media.