Brains in a Dish – Research & Response

Cerebral section, 2018 coloured borosilicate glass

Brains in a Dish – Research and Responses

Charlie is making new artworks in response to Dr Selina Wray’s research into the behaviours and patterns of different dementias at molecular level.

New glass sculptures, video and participatory events are in development which respond to the incredible transformation of a small sample of her skin into functioning neurons-  ‘in vitro’ and as three dimensional ‘organoids’.

Above shows a selection of studies for neurons’ 2016-18, created from hand drawn borosilicate glass.

Charlie’s ongoing video work  skin to mind (chapters 1-3)  invite you on the journey of her cells f  to discover the vital differences between growth and degeneration and consider the dramatic personal implications that these differences can have for wellbeing, cognitive function and life expectancy.

Charlie’s ongoing  LOMU cell line, in vitro, ( 2017-) sculptural installations juxtapose the shadows of found materials with optical and refractive qualities of borosilicate glass.

Creating distinctive visual representations of her (LOMU) cell line, Charlie is asserting her own interpretations of their intricate cell morphologies, using scientific glassmaking techniques, lab tools and found materials to bring tactile, visceral and personal dimensions to what often appear very abstract and remote scientific phenomena.

These works present playful interpretations of the microscopic imagery she observes as her skin cells are gradually being grown into 2 and 3d cultures by Phd researcher Christopher Lovejoy in the dementia research lab at UCL’s Institute of Neurology.

The first in this series  ‘dermo fibroblast,in vitro’ 2018 can be seen here as part of   ‘Trajectories’ exhibition, Dundee

‘Brains in a Dish’  brings a diverse range of perspectives to this important area of dementia research and aims to raise some of the profound metaphysical, ethical, legal and personal questions which accompany the use and implications of these cell technologies.Through an ongoing programme of public exhibitions, discussions, TV and radio broadcasts and published articles are being presented to stimulate curiosity about the brain and promote greater awareness about how dementias can impact on brain function at a cellular level.

New partnerships and funding is sought to realise further outcomes through exhibitions and events across the UK and internationally

Forthcoming presentations on 11th Oct at the Royal Institute

and at UCL’s Hub space on 20th Oct at  Bloomsbury Festival 


Works from this project have also been presented at :

Dundee’s Life Space Gallery as part of  ‘Trajectories” ( 1st Feb-2nd June 2018)

skin to mind (part 1) video has been presented at West Yorkshire Playhouse’s ‘Every third Minute’ Festival

Normal?Festival of the Brain (11th – 13th May) 2018

Creative Reactions London 2017 event  ‘Dimensions of Dementia’

‘Neuronal Disco’ has also recently been presented at South Bank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall as part of their (B)old Festival in May  2018  and at Normal?Festival of the Brain 2017