Laura Splan's work interrogates the material manifestations of our cultural ambivalence towards the human body. Her conceptually based projects employ a range of traditional and digital techniques. She often uses found objects and appropriated sources to explore socially constructed perceptions of order and disorder. Much of her work is inspired by experimentation with materials and processes including blood, cosmetic facial peel and digital fabrication.
The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art & Architecture
Edited by Charissa N. Terranova and Meredith Tromble
Featured in Part 4: Biologies and Art Theories and Practices
in Dorothy Santos's essay From Materiality to Machines
"Manifest: The Role of Science in the Studio"
Essay by Laura Splan
Issue 7.2—Art, Science, & Wonder, Oct 29, 2015
"...I more often think my studio practice drives my research than vice versa. That is, my curiosity and investigation are often steered by the fabrication of an object or the construction of an image that is already somewhat formed in my mind. My research into the science and technology behind the work serves to ground my studio production in a set of rules, principles, and even aesthetics. And science often emerges as a protagonist in the narrative implications of the work..."
Raw Material: In Conversation with Curator Angela McQuillan with Artists Laura Splan and Gail Wight
Speak Speak, Grizzly Grizzly Gallery Blog, Published September 2016.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Raw Material, at Grizzly Grizzly (Philadelphia, PA) in May 2016.
"...data is mutable. In the Manifest series, I was interested to see what possibilities might emerge by capturing that data. Recording the changing levels of electricity in muscles while smiling or squinting repeatedly resulted in a different set of EMG readings each time. No two smiles are alike! Another “crap shoot” scenario. And to Gail’s point, I thought of this process more in terms of translation than as reduction. The facial movement was an expression of an emotion, the numerical data was a translation of the facial expression, and the sculptures were a way of visualizing the data in a new form. And if thinking about data as “material”, my process was one of rematerializing these facial expressions and emotions associated with them within a context that is outside of the technoscientific representation of the corporeal..."
In Conversation: Liss LaFleur & Laura Splan
Digital Fabrication Residency Blog, July 2015
A discussion of digital fabrication in the studio.
"...Interdisciplinary art can illuminate concepts, ideas, and experiences that conventional modes within other disciplines cannot. Data visualization, for example, can reveal meaning and produce knowledge from data collected within the social sciences that was not readily apparent in the data alone. Florence Nightingale’s polar area diagram visualizing sources of patient mortality in a military field hospital is a great example of her pioneering work in this area. And objects and images can evoke experiences and generate understanding of ideas within disciplines traditionally separate from the Arts. As artists and educators, that is our charge–to draw upon what is familiar, what we think we already know, and to dissect and dismantle the machinations of the status quo and illuminate the cracks..."
Straight Talk: Laura Splan
SciArt in America, Feb 2014
Interview with Julia Buntaine
"...I have always been fascinated by the mutable perceptions we have regarding the human body–how our reactions to biological form and function can fluctuate so dramatically… I am also interested in how our perceptions of the body can be mediated by the design of instruments and devices–how the form and function of an object designed to relate to the body can alter our understanding of the body itself. There can be significant epistemological shifts that happen via the introduction of a single new invention, instrument or device. Yet, at the same time objects can also reveal an already established cultural paradigm through their form and function..."