Variance II

Ingham, Karen (2011) Variance II. Wales Institute of Research in Art and Design.

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Variance was a series of six photographic portraits and a three-minute film responding to the work of Victorian polymath Francis Galton on inheritance, biometrics, and composite portraiture (the superimposition of multiple photographic portraits to produce an ideal type or natural kind). Ingham was invited by Galton Archive curator Natasha McEnroe to create an interdisciplinary artwork for the 2011 Galton centenary. The project extended Ingham’s work on Galton. Her film Vanitas: Seed-Head (2005) was based on his proto-genetic inheritance studies, and was one of her RAE 2008 submissions. Variance also furthered her interest in creating alternative forms and meanings using historical and contemporary medical technologies. Ingham elected to work against the idea of typology in composite portraiture and contemporary neurobiological imaging technologies. The idea is manifest in claims such as, with Galton, superimposed photographic portraits can show an ideal personality type, or, with contemporary imaging technologies, that they can display certain types of character, e.g. a criminal type of brain imaging pattern. In contrast, Ingham chose to promote the concept of variance from Galton’s work on statistics. With assistance from the Cardiff Neuroscience Research Group, electron microscopy images of brain activity were sourced and superimposed onto conventional photographic portraits of her family members. Variance was promoted in the sense that the electron microscopy images, rather than being in the service of type formation, were used to complicate what it means to view a person’s inner life, suggesting different layers of interpretation. The motif of superimposition toward variance was extended in the accompanying film, with added readings from the Galton Archive. The project was funded by a Major Creative Wales Award and has been widely disseminated in exhibitions, conferences and in publications. Dissemination is ongoing.

Item Type: Other
Additional Information: Citation: Ingham, K. Variance.
Uncontrolled Keywords: art, neuroscience, Francis Galton, composite typologies
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Q Science > Q Science (General)
T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Wales Institute for Science & Art (WISA) > Academic Discipline: Art & Media
Related URLs:
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2013 15:32
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2023 14:04

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