What does lifespan mean for a parasite that reproduces as asexual clones and is revived after 30 years suspended in a deep frozen state? How far does the digital footprint of a parasite stretch online? This work centers on the deadly Leishmania parasite that exploits human conflict and poverty to inhabit humans and cause the disease known as Leishmaniasis.
Para-site-seeing is a travel blogging portal for the Leishmania parasite, created by Jen Southern and Rod Dillon and co-commissioned with NEoN and the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research. Through the portal multiple narratives unfold, as parasites blog, tweet, insta and vlog their way around the world, tracing their lives in the wild, as experimental subjects in labs, transforming themselves on board sandflies as vehicles for multi-species encounters. Follow para-site-seeing from the parasites first out-of-body experience in the 1960’s and witness its first moments emerging from cryopreservation.
The para-site-seeing.org portal will be live from 6 November and you can come and meet Leishmania at the para-site-seeing ‘cellfie’ booth during the festival.
About the Artist and Scientist
Artist Jen Southern has exhibited her work internationally over 25 years. She works as Director of the Mobilities Lab at the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University. Her work is a hybrid of art practice and research into mobile technologies.
Rod Dillon is @sandflyman, a bioscientist/senior lecturer and artist, specialising in sandflies and Leishmania at Lancaster University. Rod collaborates with artists on biomedical themed projects and has been working with Jen since 2011.
The Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research is based at the University of Dundee. A new potential treatment for visceral leishmaniasis – one of the world’s major neglected diseases – has recently been discovered by Dundee’s researchers with the results published in Nature.
This co-commission is part of the wider public engagement programme of the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research, which is generously supported by the Wellcome Trust.