Synthesis (heavy chain)
Commissioned by UCL Public for the Institute of Immunity & Transplantation, Royal Free Hospital London.
The immune system exists within our entire body, from the outer layers of our skin to the inner most depths of our bones. It is formed of a vast interconnected community, created through a process of protein synthesis which is guided by incredibly small chains of Messenger RNA.
The sculpture ‘Synthesis (heavy chain)’, suspended with the atrium within the building entrance, is formed of stainless-steel links of four different lengths, each of which relates to one of the four building blocks that connect into sequences of RNA chains. Connected to the ceiling are twenty-six short chains encoding the RNA combinations responsible for creating all amino acids found within living creatures. From the hooked ends of these amino acids a single antibody ‘heavy chain’ is looped back and forth, connecting onto the hooks at locations along its length that relate to the relevant amino acid.
The sculpture ‘Synthesis (heavy chain)’ is formed from the underlying code that guides the creation of our immune systems. The large, suspended chain also links to themes of restraint, in terms of both security and oppression, acknowledging the constant role of the immune system. However, above all, the sculpture is a large collection of interconnected elements working together as an interdependent system.