ERGO SUM

The creation of a second self using stem cell technology.




In the project Ergo Sum the artist Charlotte Jarvis has donated parts of her body to stem cell research. In the tradition of public anatomy lessons the WAAG society hosted the donation as a performance, lecture and debate on January 25th 2013.

Charlotte has collaborated with The Leiden University Medical Centre iPSC Core Facility headed by Prof. Dr. Christine Mummery and Dr. Christian M.A.H. Freund from the departement of Anatomy and Embryology and Dr. Harold Mikkers from the departement of Molecular Cell Biology. The project has been made with the help and support of the Netherlands Proteomics Centre.

The donated specimins were taken to the lab in Leiden where they were transformed - medically metamorphosed - into induced pluripotent stem cells and from there into a range of completely different substances. A second self has been created, a self-portrait, a synecdoche, made from a collage of synthesized body parts. Brain, heart and blood all biologically ‘Charlotte’ yet distinctly alien to her.

By presenting herself (literally, physically) as an advocate of stem cell research Charlotte seeks to actively engage the discussion surrounding this field and to demystifying the processes, aims and outcomes of this widely misunderstood technology.

Ergo Sum recently received the Designers and Artist's for Genomics Award and was exhibited (lived) at Naturalis from September to December 2013. Ergo Sum was funded by the Netherlands Genomics Initiative.


DONATION
Charlotte donated blood, urine and skin to Christine Mummery's laboratory in front of an audience at the Theatrum Anatomicum.


Photos by James Read and Arne Kuilman




GROWING STEM CELLS
The stem cells are the patches that look a little like frogspawn. From left to right: Blood cells 5 days after transduction, Blood cells 5 days after transduction, Skin cells 5 days after transduction, Skin cells 5 days after transduction, Urine cells 5 days after transduction, Urine cells 5 days after transduction. Charlotte's stem cells are being grown and cared for by Christian Freund, Harald Mikkers, Simone van de Pas and Maayke Ruler.






BEATING HEART CELLS
Heart cells have been successfully grown from stem cells derived from my urine... AND THEY BEAT!






BRAIN CELLS
Brain cells have been successfully grown from stem cells derived from my skin






BLOOD VESSELS
Brain cells have been successfully grown from stem cells derived from my skin






INSTALLATION AND INCUBATOR
Charlotte collaborated with ClickNetherfield to make the incubator to keep the samples alive in the gallery.








SCARS
Scars from the biopsy 24/02/2013:



Scars from biopsy 11/03/13: