ON DISPLAY AT CHASHAMA
266 West 37th Street, New York
"Biophobia" is an ongoing series addressing the often fraught relationship between humans and 'the rest of the natural world' (as if we are somehow distinct and separate.) The flies in this work are ones associated with forensic entomology – the practice of using flies to solve crimes. In 1247 Chinese judge and medical expert Song Ci wrote a book titled "Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified". In this work he speaks of a person who had been murdered with a sickle. To track down the perpetrator of the crime the investigator asked everyone in the vicinity to bring their sickle to one location. At this time, flies descended on a single sickle, naturally lured by the smell of blood. The murderer confessed, and thus began the practice of using flies for the purposes of solving crime. Through my work in this series I aim to interrogate the precise demarcation of humans from the natural world. I am interested in exploring how at certain point in the life cycle, our remains become part of the larger ecosystem. Human flesh becomes a source of nourishment, or a place to incubate offspring, for many types of flies. Consequently these flies become markers of time and process, they are involuntary witnesses to a story. Their presence or absence can be used to provide data about what has transpired when no one else was around to see.