Ivan Smith


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SPATTER is a multi-media site-specific sculptural installation, which explores the science of forensics, pathology and criminology.

Bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA) is one of several specialties in the field of forensic science. The use of bloodstains as evidence is not new; however, the application of modern science has brought it to a higher level. New technologies, especially advances in DNA analysis, are available for detectives and criminologists to use in solving crimes and apprehending offenders.

The science of bloodstain pattern analysis applies scientific knowledge from other fields to solve practical problems. Bloodstain pattern analysis draws on the scientific disciplines of biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. If an analyst follows a scientific process, this applied science can produce strong, solid evidence, making it an effective tool for investigators.

Experiments with blood have shown that a drop of blood tends to form into a sphere in flight rather than the artistic teardrop shape. This is what one would expect of a fluid in freefall. The formation of the sphere is a result of surface tension that binds the molecules together.

This spherical shape of blood in flight is important for the calculation of the angle of impact (incidence) of blood spatter when it hits a surface. That angle will be used to determine the point from which the blood originated which is called the Point of Origin or more appropriately the Area of Origin.

A single spatter of blood is not enough to determine the Area of Origin at a crime scene. The determination of the angles of impact and placement of the Area of Origin should be based on the consideration of a number of stains and preferably stains from opposite sides of the pattern to create the means to triangulate.
Wikipedia 2013.

Having begun to explore the macabre hinterland of life taking through global conflict in the exhibitions ‘The Good, the Bad & the Ugly’ at Ashish Balram Nagpal Gallery Mumbai, ‘Tension’ at the Gooden Gallery London and ‘Conflict a state of disharmony’ at the Museum & Art Gallery Derby, I am looking more closely at the abstract details of the forensic investigation into the aftermath of extreme violence.

Continuing the exploration of bungee ties in my work over the past several years whether in the action in public spaces with the ‘Webbing’ series or in gallery sculptures with either ‘Cube’ or ‘Lost’, ‘SPATTER’ explores the fictional aftermath of a potential act of aggression, the investigation of blood spatter on a monumental scale incorporating the architecture of the interior of the Warehouse space and the involuntary involvement of the audience by their physical interaction with the work.

Our understanding and curiosity of the murder scene has been an on-going relationship through our investment in both Hollywood movies and TV thriller and crime dramas over the past decades, keeping us on tender hooks to life outside of our comfort zone. The dark side of humanity has captured our imagination through these genres, but with the advent of DNA analysis and camera’s in live courtrooms the macabre world of extreme violence has made the science of real life more accessible and potentially more frighteningly close to our protective layers.

© Ivan Smith 2013.


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