Anna Dumitriu is currently working on a new project, a sculptural installation, looking at the rise of domestic abuse cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, commissioned by the ART/DATA/HEALTH project. Self-isolation and quarantine due to the pandemic has meant more risk of domestic abuse for women and children, because many are confined to their homes with an abusive partner. News stories around the world highlight these risks, and the need for increased support from both governments and the charity sector (see also here). This comes at a time when support is much harder to access because of infection prevention measures, while funding is at risk in the charity sector. Anna’s project is inspired by the work of community domestic abuse and violence charity RISE. This work is commissioned as part of the AHRC funded ART/DATA/HEALTH project led by Dr Aristea Fotopoulou at the University of Brighton (2019-2021).
The ART/DATA/HEALTH-commissioned artwork initially aimed to represent and creatively explore data of domestic abuse, but we had to find solutions to adapt, because of the limitations to the participatory aspects of the project due to the pandemic. As Anna said in an interview for Sensorium: “Another important aspect is to let this situation inspire work and I am relieved that I have been able to adapt one current art commission to explore the impact of self-isolation and quarantine due to the COVID-19 Pandemic on the issue of domestic abuse and violence from a global perspective.” (Listen to the Interview for Sensorium, Festival of digital arts and culture, 28—30. 8. 2020, Bratislava)
Anna was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s book called “A Room of one’s Own”, and the idea that women need their own space in order to create; she thought of this in relation to how during the pandemic a lot of women are confined at home, some of them with abusive partners. Since the creative workshops planned by the ART/DATA/HEALTH project were cancelled due to C19, Anna prepared an art kit for the participants instead (staff members of the domestic abuse charity RISE), which they could access online. The creative activity prompts them to imagine what a room of their own would look like.
For this commission, Anna has been exploring ideas of public and private, and especially in relation to the temporary hospitals that were set up for the pandemic, in China and elsewhere in the world. For her artwork, she has been making tiny hospital beds using a 3D printer. Anna plans to decorate the 3D printed beds with embroidery, and this way tell the story of the data.
Listen to Anna talking about all this and more in this interview with Laura Elidedt Rodriguez, SciArt Talks Podcast (St Petersburg Art and Science Center), in anticipation of the premiere of a new work “Susceptible” in the Moscow based EVERART Festival of Contemporary Art 2020 in July.
Art & Infection: The BioArt of Anna Dumitriu
An exhibit at The Regency Town House
Anna Dumitriu was due to premiere the ART/DATA/HEALTH commission in the enigmatic the Regency Townhouse kitchen space in May 2020 but the show has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime the Regency Townhouse is hosting an online exhibition of works entitled “Art & Infection: The BioArt of Anna Dumitriu“. Anna Dumitriu has been making art about infectious diseases for over 20 years. Her BioArt works not only explore diseases like the plague, MRSA and tuberculosis, but actually incorporate killed bacteria and DNA of those organisms. She has worked with the viruses that infect bacteria, known as bacteriophages, and created works using CRISPR DNA modification. See also here.
Find out more:
- Listen to the UNBORE interview: Anna speaks to Gabriele Sankalaite for UNBORE on the subject of “Infectious Diseases and Future Histories” (April 2020, Netherlands)
- Listen to Anna’s interview for the Romanian radio here: Dimensiunea științifică a artei – Violența domestică în perioadele de carantină, 24 March 2020 (in Romanian).