Mutation is the essential motor for the development of biological life. However, in the context of chemically saturated environment it is considered dangerous. This project uses mutations in Zebra Fish skeletons chemically induced by researchers at the Netherlands Toxico-Genomics Center as a sculptural vocabulary to produce the Fish Bone Chapel. 

Vertebrae Vaults, friezes of exploded embryos, and spiraling columns made of mutated spinal columns all compose parts of the Fish Bone Chapel. Using a CT scanners, medical imaging technology, and custom digital fabrication techniques the minuscule embryos are scaled to create an architectural space.

The installation makes explicit reference to Capuchin Bone Chapels and traditional Christian Ossuaries found throughout Europe. The artist visited these sites while researching this project. Originally a way of having a dialogue with the dead, they now address the new stages between life and death introduced by bio-tech research and the policy which surrounds it.

Zebra Fish are a popular model for genetic testing because they are technically not considered to be animals for the first 5 days of life, but rather organic material. During this period any tests can be conducted on the embryo and still avoid ethics committees.

However, like a biological organism itself this project is still growing to take on more extensive architectural form to be able to literally inhabit the results of genetics research. The project was commissioned as a winner of the 2013 Designers and Artists for Genomics Award (DA4GA) in collaboration with the Netherlands Toxico-Genomics Center.

The project has been exhibit three times. Once at the Naturalis Natural History Museum in Leiden, the Netherlands in 2013, then Le Sceptre Project Space in Brussels 2014, and in Harlan Levey Projects 2016.

Examples of zebra fish spinal cord mutations caused by exposure to toxins while in embryo. the 4th from the right is normal. 


Below are documentation images from the first and third Installations.