Art, Science & Culture Initiative Graduate Collaboration Grant at the University of Chicago.

When does the sacred—often grounded in the religious structures of society—become uncanny? When does a god become a ghost? And moreover, at what point does a ritual take on the mantle of the supernatural? Our project investigates at what point a spiritual experience becomes a haunted one, and when it does so by interrogating the fluid, permeable border between these respective notions. We intend to explore the ways by which the sacred and the haunted are entangled through the convergence of approaches found in anthropology and visual art. Both disciplines have been deeply concerned with these issues but have often rendered them independent of one another. Considering the affects, perceptions, and experiences the sacred and the haunted conjure, our artistic venture is also an exploration of phenomenology and the sensuous. Hilary Leathem (PhD student, Anthropology, UChicago), Adrienne Elyse Meyers (MFA candidate, Visual Arts, UChicago), and Agnes Mondragón Celis-Ochoa (PhD student, Anthropology, UChicago) will utilize sound, video, and material culture in an attempt to evoke and open up interpretations of the uncanny. In the end, this collaboration replicates the strangeness of the sacred, the sublime, and the haunted.

Faculty advisors: Julie Chu (Associate Professor, Anthropology, UChicago); Catherine Sullivan (Associate Professor, Department of Visual Arts, UChicago)



I came to work with Harvard Medical School in order to expose myself to unfamiliar fields of thought, working processes, and information. Art is the language I have found myself speaking, but learning languages of other fields is vital for enriching vocabulary of ideas and material for incorporation in my own work. Through the Experiment in Art Science Engagement (EASE) I have added to this vocabulary. The program has exposed me to what goes on in the DRSC lab, their projects, focus, methods, and tools.

As I explored the lab, I began to gravitate towards the equipment used. Machinery, tools, and containers in the lab serve as means of reworking and creating structures and imagery. The liquid-handling robots create an order within rhythmic structures of the well plates, petri dishes and other containers serve as spaces on which living matter spreads in patterns falling between the controlled and the unpredictable, and microscopes revision the world into a more intimate level of observation. I found a striking connection between these processes and those of the arts. Pattern, planning, chance, and visualization are shared ideas in the arts and what I see in the lab, while their methods and purposes differ. I began to wonder if I could use these words, the structures and tools of the lab, to achieve the purposes of the artist. What if I mimic or utilize elements of scientific processes in order to create a piece of visual art.