Lynn Hershman Leeson (American, b. 1941) Twisted Gravity, 2020 Photography, etched plastic, AquaPulse, LED lights, polluted water being filtered, electricity, GMO bacteria or waxworms, petri dishes, Plexiglas casing; size variable. Edition 3 + 1 AP Lynn Hershman Leeson in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Huber, Technology Leader and Head of Antibody Research at Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research; Dr. Richard Novak, Senior Staff Engineer, Advanced Technology Team at Harvard University Wyss Institute for Biological-Inspired Engineering and Aqua Pulse Technology; Lab Team: Elizabeth Calamari, Martinez Flores, Manuel Ramses.Originally commissioned by Margot Norton, The New Museum ©Hotwire Productions LLC 2020.
Lynn Hershman Leeson, acclaimed for the pioneering use of new technologies, is an artist who “lives” in the future. In Twisted Gravity (2020), being developed at Harvard University, she engages with the latest in applied science – a revolutionary off-the-grid water filter able to kill bacteria and degrade plastic through electricity (Aqua Pulse) and by using waxworms to digest plastic (Evolution). The project grows out of her early feminist works that examined woman’s perpetual transformation and survival – Roberta Breitmore (1974–78) and Water Women (since 1978). In the new work, the idea of survival through change meets the feminist interest in change as a life cycle. The filter’s action is made visible when purification cycle sends light through the body of Water Woman, etched in a transparent plate. She “comes alive” the moment bacteria are killed and plastic disappears.