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The brief

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					Red Blood Green Blood briefing document

Artists brief

Summary of the story

‘We’re not that different’
To create a permanent exhibit at Eden that has clearly recognisable molecular structures
in it, and communicates the story of people having red blood, plants having green blood,
the close similarity between the molecular structures of these two ‘life bloods’ and that all
life, and all living cells contain the molecule DNA, which is beautiful, simple and the
double-helix shaped blueprint for life, the evolution of life and the complexity of biodiversity
on this planet. Plants and animals have a common ancestry. Both evolved from a pre-
biotic soup of chemicals through amino acids, proteins, DNA into simple single celled
organisms to finally plants and animals and the whole interactive web of life. The origin of
life is molecular.

‘Working together’
Plants and animals work together to drive the cycle of life.
Without plants we would die.
We can help conserve this web of life.
Collaboration rather than competition may provide answers in the 21st century.

The brief
To communicate the above through an art installation that is in the Eden genre. At Eden
we work with artists - sculptors, designer makers, film makers, automata makers, painters
etc to create exhibits that are sensual, emotional, awe-inspiring, playful, curiosity-
provoking, beautiful and surprising. The installation needs to appeal to all the senses,
connect and relate to a wide audience (especially the non-scientists), connect to the heart
as well as the head, have quirkiness, humour, depth, and present something that stays in
the memory. We usually add ‘authenticity’ to this list … maybe a little tricky given the
subject matter. There is also a desire to steer away from the didactic, keeping things open
enough so people start making the connections themselves. Finally the exhibit needs to
be easy to maintain and clean, use sustainable materials, operate sustainably (if it moves
or uses light etc), be robust (as we have a footfall of over a million visitors a year) and to
reiterate - contain clearly recognisable molecular structures.

As you can see from the original bid submission (see appendix attached) we had jumped
to a few solutions. However we do not have to be slaves to the original proposal and it is
important that the artists pitch concepts and ideas as they see fit. The chosen artist will
work with a molecular expert and interpreter; Graeme Jones, and the Eden messaging
team to discuss the storyline and get under the skin of the concept before coming up with
a final proposition. We also look for inclusivity and accessibility and work with the Sensory
Trust on this. There will be accompanying messaging that sets the scene (but not your
typical museum ‘interpretation board’).


This is a joint commission between Keele University and Eden which will be administered
by Keele University.
                                                                              th
Contact/address for submission of first stage submissions by Monday January 10 2011
Hilary Garnham, Creative Programme Producer, Eden Project. (hgarnham@edenproject.com)
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Timetable and budget

   •   Nov 2010 distribution of brief to artists
   •   Nov 2010 to Monday 10th January 2010.
       Artists who would like to participate prepare first stage submission,
       Submission Guidelines
            o Tell us your idea by giving us an idea title plus 500 words description and up
               to 5 supporting images and /or 3 minutes of film or audio to support the idea.
   •   Jan 2011 selection panel shortlist maximum of 3 artists to undertake R and D.
       Selection criteria will include the strength of the idea and the ideas potential to meet
       the brief of the project and reflect the spirit and mission of Eden.
   •   Jan 2011. Shortlisted artists awarded £1K each to develop concept. At this stage
       artists will be given an outline of what needs to be covered in the final presentation
   •   Jan 2011 – April 2011 artists R and D period
   •   May 2011. Artists deliver presentation to selection panel including full project
       concept, project plan and comprehensive budget
   •   May 2011. Selection panel select artist for final £18K commission (to include artist’s
       fee and expenses, all materials, design and build, installation and associated costs
       such as health and safety, risk assessment, and potentially engineers reports eg. if
       structure is to be attached to part of the building and requires weight loading etc).
       Contract and milestones will be provided at this stage.
   •   May 2011 to Feb 2012. Commission produced.
   •   Installation – Feb 2012




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Appendices

Background information

Graeme Jones from Keele University is a man who knows about molecules and his mission is to take a love
and understanding of molecules to the world. He submitted a bid to EPSRC* in 2008 to fund a series of
molecule exhibitions across the UK and asked if Eden would like to be part of that bid. We agreed, the bid
was submitted and was successful. (*EPSRC, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, funds
research and postgraduate training in engineering and the physical sciences at universities and other
organisations throughout the UK.). Images of some of Graeme’s previous installations can be seen at
http://www.keele.ac.uk/makeitmolecular/onshow.html Carbon rapture installation, Burlington House, 2009.




Relevant component of the bid that was submitted
Red Blood Green Blood
‘Since its opening in 2000 the Eden Project has rapidly established itself as one of the UK’s leading visitor
attractions with 1.2 million visitors per year. We wish to bring molecules to this world of plants and people to
demonstrate the molecular basis of these worlds and to highlight how closely, at a molecular level, plants
and people are related. In Red Blood Green Blood we propose to work together with Eden to put together
an installation based around the chemical structures of haemoglobin and chlorophyll. These would be giant
molecular sculptures sited around columns of bubbling red and green liquid and joined together with an
overarching DNA model. It is proposed that this will become a gateway to the Core, Eden’s education
centre, and will stimulate visitors into a new way of looking at the plants within Eden, not just as a rich
diversity of flora, but as a remarkable store house of molecules and a chemical reaction vessel.
The Red Blood Green Blood installation will be on permanent display and therefore the Mega Mols will need
to be redesigned to make them more robust and visitor proof. To achieve this we will work together with the
design and technical team at Eden. This gives us a fantastic opportunity to learn from Eden about their
knowledge of producing external exhibits which we can apply on future projects.
NB. We do not have to be slaves to the original proposal (italics above) but the exhibit at Eden has to have
clearly recognisable molecular structures in it.

Ethos and compatibility of Eden and Keele
Eden connects people with the plants and resources they use every day.
Eden’s mission is:
To create memorable experiences to lead people to care about each other and the natural world
Do transformational projects, both big and small, to show what people working with nature can achieve
When the rules of a successful future are not yet known we will use imagination and enterprise to find new
solutions.
Keele approached Eden because they are interested in Eden’s approach to interpretation which uses art as
a communication mechanism creating an emotional and relevant link to the subject material.
‘Eden is trying to communicate to people about plants, people and the environment which people can see all
around them and which most people take for granted and do not engage with, Keele is trying to
communicate to people about molecules which are similarly all around them but are too small to see and


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which most people also take for granted and do not engage with. Eden works with a macroscopic challenge,
Keele works with a microscopic one.’ Graeme Jones.

Proposed location
The foyer on the ground floor of the Core, Eden’s educational and arts hub. Why? Because this links to the
overall narrative on site. Drawings. plans and images of proposed location attached. More plans and images
available on request
The exhibitions across the Eden site link people to the plants they use every day for food, fuel, medicines
and materials. The exhibitions in the Core look at: ecosystem services (how plants provide our air, clean our
water, control climate etc), the challenges we have imposed on these services by damaging ecosystems and
gives examples of programmes and projects which are being carried out (by Eden and others) to address
these challenges.
This proposed installation could act as an introduction to the exhibits on the ground floor of the Core. It
could be a possible gateway around the internal door. There is a slide entering the space too, so there is
already a playful element that could be built on. The ceiling is low and the area is a thoroughfare (the main
doors to the outside world are just out of shot on the left. It’s a small, but intimate space and currently rather
a dull entrance to an extraordinary building.




Core: exterior and interior:




Far left: from interior: entrance doorway on right foreground just out of shot
Mid: entrance on right hand side of building
Far right: exterior entrance with tulips in the way!

Best to come to site and see for yourself!




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The full story
Graeme Jones from Keele and Jo Elworthy from Eden will discuss the detail of the story with the artist.
People have red blood (haemoglobin), plants have green blood (chlorophyll). Red blood carries oxygen
round our body which we use to break down carbohydrate (sugar) to release energy (and water and carbon
dioxide). This is called respiration. Chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, is used to trap the energy of the
sun. The plant takes in water and carbon dioxide and combines them with the ‘trapped sunshine’ to make a
battery of energy called carbohydrate. The only ‘waste product’ of this process is oxygen. The process is
called photosynthesis. Carbohydrate is also used as the building block on which all life forms are based. So
chlorophyll is pretty amazing stuff. It turns light into useable energy which drives the whole life process on
earth. Leaves are the ultimate solar panels. Most of the time most of us walk round oblivious to this.
Interestingly haemoglobin and chlorophyll have similar molecular structures in that they are both a metal
atom surrounded by a phorphoryn ring. What does this mean? The structures below will help. The former
has iron (Fe) at its centre, the latter magnesium (Mg). We’re not so different.




Left above : Structure of human hemoglobin. The protein's α and β subunits are in red and blue, and the iron-containing heme groups in
green. From PDB 1GZX Proteopedia Hemoglobin.                     Right above: The heme group (ie the bit with iron in it)
Below: Structure of chlorophyll (similar to heme group of haemoglobin)




There’s something else we have in common too. All living beings (plants and animals) contain DNA. It’s
beautiful, simple and the double-helix shaped blueprint for life, its evolution and the complexity of biodiversity
on this planet. Plants and animals have a common ancestry. Both evolved from a pre-biotic soup of
chemicals through amino acids, proteins, DNA into simple single celled organisms to finally plants and
animals and the whole interactive web of life. The origin of life is molecular. Our DNA (found in every cell of
our body) contains the instructions to make us what we are. DNA has four variables: A (adenine), T
(Thymine), G (Guanine) and C (Cytosine) which are termed bases. The order in which the bases appear
determines the genetic code which is unique for each species. However the genetic codes between plants
and animals are not so different - humans share 90% of their genetic code with bananas! This is because
we are both cellular organisms that carry out the same basic chemical operations at a cellular level.


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DNA has a beautiful double helix structure. It was first isolated by the Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher in
1869 from the pus of discarded surgical bandages. As the substance was found in the cell nucleus he called
it "nuclein". Over the years scientists discovered it had a specific structure and carried genetic material. In
1953 James D. Watson and Francis Crick suggested what is now accepted as the first correct double-helix
model of DNA structure in the journal Nature. Their model was based on a X-ray diffraction image ("Photo
51") taken by Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling in May 1952. In 1962, after Franklin's untimely death
from cancer, Watson, Crick, and Wilkins jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Unfortunately, Nobel rules allow only living recipients.




‘Her [Rosalind Franklin's] photographs are among the most beautiful X-ray photographs of any substance
ever taken’. Nature Journal Obituary of Rosalind Franklin, Nature, 1958. We have also read (in New
Scientist I think) that the scientists knew when they had discovered the true structure of DNA because it was
beautiful.




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