Metastasis of the Body – when architecture and science combine

A collaboration between the University of Lincoln’s Schools of Architecture & Design and Life Sciences recently resulted in a fascinating exhibition exploring the disintegration of the human body.

Metastasis of the Body is a project by Irene Cheng, a postgraduate Architecture student, in collaboration with Dr Issam Hussain, Senior Lecturer in Life Sciences, and her tutor, Dr Francesco Proto.

Irene is currently part of the Studio Design research group, led by Dr Proto, investigating the “post-human” in terms of the correlations between architecture and the human body and, consequently, the correspondence between buildings and organic structures. This work is pursued through cross-disciplinary collaborations, under the umbrella of contemporary philosophy.

Irene’s research has focused on the concept of ‘cancer’ emerging from the work of the French theorist Jean Baudrillard. Her work expands on this concept and maps the effects of cancer on the human body, thus offering a dystopian reflection of the future of architecture and the meaning of ‘sustainability’ in contemporary culture.

Irene collaborated with Dr Hussain in order to incorporate the latest scientific findings into her research. She integrated information from Dr Hussain’s cancer development, epidemiological and clinical research outcomes on metastasis – the spread of cancer from one organ to another.

The resulting analysis shows features of bone cancer such as the pattern of growth, characteristics of the cells, matrix production, and the relationship between the lesion tissue and surrounding bone; as well as scientific advancements in therapeutic approaches to bone cancer.

Speaking about the project, Irene said: “Working with Dr Hussain on this project has been a fascinating experience, and it has been extremely rewarding to translate scientific findings into an artistic exhibition. Throughout the project I attempted to reflect the ethos of the Studio Design research group, which aims to challenge complex historical conundrums in the most original, creative and unexpected of ways.”

An exhibition showcasing Irene’s work took place in December in the University of Lincoln’s Project Space Plus gallery.

Issam hand