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.
Bioart Residency Project—Catalog
Catalog for the inaugural year of the BioArt Residency at the University City Science Center, in partnership with Integral Molecular & Esther Klein Gallery.
Essays: Ben Doranz, Angela McQuillan, Cindy Stockton-Moore, Tom Charpentier; Design: Angela McQuillan; Artists: Laura Splan, Heather-Dewey Hagborg, Orkan Telhan, Deirdre Murphy
“Splan’s project builds on her experience with weaving and fiber arts. Her uniquely multidimensional art practice highlights connections between old and new technologies, where the binary system of warp and weft parallels the circuitry commands of computational devices. For the scientists at Integral Molecular, the artist is also presenting a new tactile understanding of the materials that they use on a daily basis. This shift in perspective is indicative of the benefits of inviting artists into the lab - where breakthroughs are often predicated by the introduction of outside elements. Splan’s project also reconnects the animal to its cells, forcing us to consider the physicality of the interspecies research. The conceptual framework allows for more nuanced discussions about genetically engineered antibodies, and their connection to recombinant DNA technology.”—Cindy Stockton-Moore
Laura Splan: Embodied Objects
Catalog for 2018 Solo Exhibition at Occurrence Gallery, Montréal, QC
38 pages, full color, softcover, 8x10 in
Dynamic Patterns: Visualizing Landscapes in a Digital Age
178 pages | 48 Color Illus.
Dynamic Patterns explores the role of patterns in designed landscapes. Patterns are inherently relational, and the search for and the creation of patterns are endemic to many scientific and artistic endeavors. Recent advances in optical tools, sensors, and computing have expanded our understanding of patterns as a link between natural and cultural realms.
Published Writing & Interviews
#FiftyQuestions with Laura Splan
Interview Questions by Quintan Ana Wikswo
"Some Serious Business presents #FiftyQuestions to highlight wonderful folks that are creating, presenting, questioning and critiquing."
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..."
"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..."
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..."
Editions & Exhibition Catalogs
Stadtgalerie Lehen, Salzburg, Austria
Objects of Wonder
with curators introductions by David Familian & Madeline Schwartzman
Beall Center for Art+Technology, Irvine, CA
Artists: Antony Hall, James Auger & Jimmy Loizeau, Eric Dyer, Glenn Kaino, Jeff Weiss, Kathryn Fleming, Laura Splan, Pascual Sisto, Rafael Araujo, Suzanne Anker, Tania Blanco, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy and Felicia Rice, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Felicia Rice, Jennifer González, Gustavo Vazquez & Zachary Watkins