Mapping Humanness: A Work in Progress

Conceptual map detail, 2011 - present

 

Mapping Humanness: Conjuring a Personal Hypothesis

 

My work emerges from a forensic, intuitive, and analytical search for identity inspired by the sequencing of the human genome. I use conceptual and metaphorical mapping to locate the self within the complexity of humanness that lies deep beneath the surface of the body.

 

Science reveals that all human beings share 99.9 percent of the same genetic code. Part of the essence of what it means to be human is that a profound commonality exists at the cellular level.

I am curious about what our microscopic makeup reveals about humanity. My ongoing exploration entitled Mapping Humanness: A Work in Progress is a conceptual diagram that charts the essential relationships between human biology and culture.

 

All of my subsequent works are human biomorphic maps depicting converging anatomical structures through layers of opaque and translucent media. They incorporate the diagrammatic structure of
the concept map minus the research and text. The network of lines and nodes transform into a
system of veins and cells that are integral to my visual language. Through multiple printmaking processes, the circulatory-like network is integrated with patterns of DNA. Through etching, I
create organic, interwoven lines juxtaposed with graphic, checkered sequences created from digital printing. The first texture symbolizes mitochondrial DNA, which traces our species’ evolutionary lineage, while the second mimics nuclear DNA, which traces individual ancestry. The use of positive and negative space implies the movement of air, light, and energy passing through semipermeable
forms. Genetic and medical elements are deconstructed and rearranged to reinvent meaning,
giving rise to gesture that echoes evolution.

 

Despite social emphasis on superficial differences, such as skin color and other features, which
have traditionally shaped constructs of identity, race and ethnicity do not exist at the microscopic level. DNA, an underlying structure, unlocks various essences of being human, which cannot be
seen by the eye. As human biology transforms perceptions of reality and ourselves, I am compelled
to map changing notions of humanness and the collective narrative.