The Mutability of Memories and Fates

The Institute of Epigenetics and Stem Cells (IES) appointed Anna Dumitriu to the first Artist in Residence Program at the Helmholtz Zentrum München in Germany in 2020.

The project responds to the concept of cellular memory and cell fates, and explores how the cell packages DNA and what impact that has. It focusses on the mutability of the cell, or what controls its constancy, and how this affects gene expression and the nature of life. It explores the desirability of a deeper understanding of cell biology and the significant impacts it will have on healthcare and disease prevention. The completed work will arise from discussions with researchers and through shared poetic and philosophical reflections on the research.

Dumitriu is in the process of developing a new body of artworks resulting from a deep exploration of the research taking place at the Institute. The work is being developed through close engagement with the researchers in one to one meetings and participating in research meetings and seminars, currently in an online format due to the travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. When it is possible the Dumitriu will travel to München to work hands-on in the laboratory but for now she is focussed on gaining a strong understanding of the projects and methodologies used at the Institute, and learning from the rich knowledge of the scientists and informing herself about the research field.

The residency is co-ordinated by Professor Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla (Director of the IES), Amelie J. Kraus (Scientific Coordinator of the Epigenetics@HMGU community), and the art-science curator Dr Claudia Schnugg.