It's Not a Matter of Morphology
This exhibition was part of Open Studios Night at SAIC, July 2018. It started with my investigation of Dr. Samuel Morton's phrenological skull studies. He collected skulls from graveyards and other sites to prove that the skulls from African subjects had less brain capacity than those from other "races." His studies were racially biased. The flaws included small sample size and lack of consideration for age, nutritional status, etc. of the subjects. He used mustard seed to fill the skulls and weighed them. He concluded that the Caucasian skulls had the greatest brain capacities while those of Blacks had the smallest brain capacities. The University of Pennsylvania where the skulls were donated has been asked to give the skulls back to their communities for proper burial. This art project is important because it not only highlights the history of racial bias in the United States but also captures the zeitgeist of our times.
First, Do No Harm, 2018. Pantone skin-toned cardstock, 8 x 8 inches, etched with DNA base pair genetic code with loci and surprise text elements. Rescue blanket-covered table with brass scales containing mustard seed.
Chromosome 1, 2018. Polystyrene Foam, textiles (including ballet shoe) sourced from Chicago thrift stores, rope, steel pins. Chromosome 1 is the largest chromosome in the human complement of 46 chromosomes.