Project pitch for the first round of the Designers and Artists for Genomics award 2012.

Drawing on the tradition of artists using their bodies as a site for activism, in Metamorphosis I would attempt to donate a number of (very small) parts of my body to stem cell research. This might include bone marrow, blood, adipose tissue, skin and eggs. The processes for donating these materials are varied, and some are more medically involved than others. Donating eggs for example, although common practice in IVF treatment, is controversial and some of the associated risks would need to be addressed through the making of the project.

Obviously, documenting the donation will be a large part of the piece. I hope it would be possible for some donations to be public performances or live-streamed. However, of equal importance is what happens to the material. I would want to donate to a number of specific research institutes representing the vast variety of applications of this technology. At the end of the process these various parts of me will have transformed into a range of completely different substances - I find this literal metamorphosis hugely exciting. I would hope to be able to show these new materials in exhibition.

It is important to understand that not all stem cell research involves the use of embryos. This is why I would be donating a number of samples from different areas of my body in order to challenge the generally held mis-association between the whole field and embryonic cloning. However, the argument surrounding the use of fertilised eggs is one I feel strongly about and I would not be presenting this project as in any way objective, but rather it would be a Consequentialist argument strongly in favour of the use of these materials.

By presenting myself (literally, physically) as an advocate of stem cell research Metamorphosis would seek to actively engage the debate surrounding this field and to provide a public voice for stem cell researchers but also a demystifying of the processes, aims and outcomes of this widely misunderstood technology.

Finally metamorphosis aims to produce a series of magical, metamorphosised materials – all originating from the artist, myself, but all fundamentally changed into something completely new.

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