Dr Paul Liam Harrison




DJCAD, Unversity of Dundee


Paul Harrison is an artist with a background and prevailing interest in print, printmaking and publishing. His practice inherently combines the use of traditional print methods and materials with new and emerging technologies. He is currently appointed as researcher/research assistant at the University of Dundee, Visual Research Centre (VRC) Print Publishing facility where he recently completed his PhD – ‘Designs for Life: art, science and collaboration. A practice led study in fine art printmaking’. He is currently working on projects with researchers at the University of Dundee Biocentre, the Human Genetics Unit, MRC, Edinburgh, Institut Curie, Paris, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) New York and also as artist in residence at the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO), Singapore and visiting fellow/artist in residence at the Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen) at the University of Cardiff.


Teleportation and the printed human


The history of print takes us from the evidence of the first human graphic expressions on cavern walls to the most recent technological innovations. It has defined the development of western culture, particularly in the transitional periods from the medieval to the mechanical age (the printed word) and then subsequently the
electronic era (the printed circuit).

In this sense, it is clear that printed matter and print methods continue an
increasingly pervasive presence in all aspects of contemporary culture, and are in fact critical to the development of new technologies. As the 'electronic revolution' increasingly permeates and dominates our lives I suggest that we have
consequently and collectively already embarked upon a 'biological revolution' which, as I
will discuss in this paper, incorporates and adapts print technologies and concepts as a
basis for these biotechnological processes.

To illustrate these connections I will discuss aspects of the work I have carried out in recent years with laboratory researchers and biomedical research institutions. This work has revealed and explored relationships between both technological and philosophical perspectives on the ideas of reproduction and indexical forms within the biosciences and made comparisons with those in the arts and popular culture.

Methods of replication and reproduction for example, whilst being celebrated by the
artist/printmaker, also provide the basis for research into genetics and cell biology and
as such are crucial tools in the study and treatment of cancer and hereditary diseases.
Even the concept of replication itself is central to the validity of the scientific process.

In this paper I will articulate and discuss some of the issues raised by this biological
perspective on the indexical form. I will pay particular attention to perhaps more
peripheral concepts that are currently being pursued such as tissue/organ printing
and teleportation.


Tuesday 27 September


3:30pm - 5.00pm




Print Making: action over object/a verb not a noun.


This paper will foreground collaboration in print practice as a model for interdisciplinary dialogue and present an argument for re-aligning the focus of print production from the object outcome to the process action ' suggesting a paradigm shift in emphasis from the print to the making, or to paraphrase Buckminster Fuller - from the noun to the verb. 1

I will present printmaking as an interdisciplinary interactive process that acts primarily as a catalyst for dialogue. The emphasis, rather than being on the product outcome is on the process itself - the print artefacts are a result of this dialogue - evidence of the activity. Print making in this sense is primarily a way of developing and processing ideas; it is a method of practice and it is discursive.

This proposition is not intended to undermine the value of the printed object but to simply re-address the balance; augmenting in fact the potential of print by placing importance upon the live, performative aspects of printmaking activity as a method of interaction - and subsequently therefore, upon the documentary and peripheral material which emerges as a result of this activity ' which in terms of this argument includes the printed outcome.

In this sense we can consider printmaking in terms of Reason and Bradbury's 'action
research' - as 'a participatory, democratic process concerned with knowledge as a living, evolving process of coming to know rooted in everyday experience; it is a verb rather than a noun.' 2 It is 'a vehicle for interdisciplinary dialogue - amplifying the possibilities of collaboration and dialogue in the methodical nature of production. It is a way of thinking, a way of approaching the investigation of relationships. I mean that the process is principally concerned with the discussion of ideas and exploration of relationships and patterns. This dialogue (the making) is the principal function whilst the object outcomes (the artefacts) are secondary: the evidence of that dialogue (the activity). Printmaking is a verb and not a noun.'3

1. Fuller, R. Buckminster, Synergetics - Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, P.xix. Macmillan Publishing Co.,
New York, 1975
2. Reason, P. and H. Bradbury (2001). Handbook of action research : participative inquiry and practice. London: Thousand Oaks, Calif., SAGE.
3. Harrison, Paul. 'Designs for Life: art, science and collaboration. 2009


Friday 30 September


11:00am - 12.30pm


Other activities


Poster presentation




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