Invisible artwork to be created during forensic science residency this summer

Cloud Chamber by Beatrice Haines

Out of over 110 applications, London-based artist Beatrice Haines has been selected to work within Abertay University’s ground-breaking forensic science department this summer, as the University’s artist-in-residence.

Spending up to four days in the lab with Dr Kevin Farrugia, Beatrice will explore the many ways in which print visualisation techniques – such as chemical enhancement and specialised photography – can be manipulated to recover finger- and shoeprints from crime scenes.

The purpose of the residency is to produce a work of art that will be exhibited at the inaugural Print Festival Scotland – a celebration of the cultural diversity, historical significance and future potential of print.

The Festival will run alongside the world renowned Impact8 International Printmaking Conference, which will be held this year in Dundee.

Print Festival Scotland events will take place across the country, but Dundee has a particularly rich printing and printmaking heritage, and there is a strong link between these disciplines and the field of forensic science.

A multi-disciplinary artist, Beatrice is keen for the artwork she creates to reflect the scientific nature of the residency.

She intends to do this by creating a series of interactive, and potentially invisible, prints that will undergo a physical change as they are viewed, making the spectator feel as if they have taken part in a scientific experiment.

This will be achieved by treating the prints, made in diluted blood, with a substance such as Acid Yellow 7 – one of many chemicals used by forensic scientists to enhance latent fingerprints in blood at crime scenes.

The presence of Acid Yellow 7 on the print will mean that, when it is viewed under special lighting, it will fluoresce and bring the print to the fore so it can be seen for the first time by the naked eye.

Speaking about what made Bea’s proposal stand out from the others, Clare Brennan, who was a member of the selection panel and is curator of the Hannah Maclure Centre – Abertay University’s exhibition space and art gallery – said:

“There were so many amazing ideas for this residency, so I must first just say thank you to everyone who applied. It really was wonderful reading through such a range of high-quality proposals.

“But Bea’s one stood out from the start, and I think this was mainly because the essence of Kevin’s research was so evidently already embedded in her work.

“She uses prints to record the traces of their lives that people leave behind them, and spoke about how these traces have their own story to tell, just like forensic evidence does.

“It just fits perfectly with the reason that we decided to offer this residency, which was to bring science out from behind closed doors and into a different, and perhaps more easily understandable and engaging, environment.”

Beatrice will have full use of the DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts) Print Studio to develop ideas inspired by her time in the lab.

The Print Studio has some of the best printmaking facilities in Scotland, from the traditional printing presses right up to the latest digital and electronic forms.

Speaking about why she applied for the residency and what she hopes to create, Beatrice Haines said:

“Scientific enquiry and, more specifically, forensics, has been an underlying inspiration in my artwork for many years, so when I discovered the chance to do a residency in a forensics lab I jumped at the opportunity.

“The links between forensics and printmaking (the study of fingerprints, shoe imprints, tyre prints etc) provides rich ground for an artist, so being able to create my artworks at DCA’s Print Studio and exhibit them at Impact8 is really exciting.

“With the artwork I create, I want the viewer to experience the same sensation that I had looking through a microscope for the first time – that a secret has suddenly been exposed. So the idea of being able to create something that suddenly materialises or, at the very least, changes, right before people’s eyes, will, hopefully, capture their imaginations.

“As well as the prints, I hope to make some sculpture for the residency which, like the prints, will physically change as people look at them. I’m really looking forward to getting started with this – I’ve never witnessed the functionings of a working lab before, so it’ll be fascinating getting to see behind the scenes and getting the chance to experiment with the new techniques I learn about.”

Applications for the residency came from all over the world, including Thailand, Brazil, Australia, the USA, Taiwan, Serbia, Ukraine, Hong Kong and many more.

Proposals were from artists working in sound design, sculpture, print, painting, performance, photography, as well as interactive media.

To find out more about Beatrice, and to view her portfolio, please visit

A selection of her work includes:

  • Sanatorium, Solo exhibition at Marlborough College, 2011
  • A Place Called Home, exhibition at the Clearlake Hotel in London, 2012
  • The Open West, upcoming exhibition at Newark Park National Trust House and Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, July 2013.

She was also winner of The Mann Drawing Prize 2010 and nominee for Best Newcomer at the Royal Academy Summer Show 2007.


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07922041198 E:

Notes to Editors:

  • The residency opportunity was offered jointly by Abertay University and the art collective Yuck ‘n Yum.
  • Abertay University is at the forefront of forensics research and has made a number of breakthroughs in this field over recent years. For example, the University recently published the UK’s first academic paper on how to recover latent fingerprints from foods.
  • Yuck ‘n Yum has been sponsored by the Hannah Maclure Centre for the past few years and is making waves in the arts world. The black and white zine Yuck ‘n Yum produce comes out every quarter, and is distributed across the UK as well as, more recently, in Europe. They have a huge network of artists who have contributed work to the zine and participated in their many public art projects:
  • Print Festival Scotland will run from August 23 – September 1. It will feature an extensive programme of exhibitions, performances and public print events across the country
  • The Impact8 International Printmaking Conference is an international forum for print artists and artisans, academics and educators, theorists and critics, curators and collectors, and suppliers of printmaking materials and presses. It will take place in Dundee between August 28 and September 1.
  • Now in its 14th year, it is being organised in Dundee by Dr Paul Harrison and Professor Elaine Shemilt from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. The conference is held every two years, with previous editions having taken place in Melbourne, Bristol, Tallinn, Berlin, Poznan, Cape Town, and Helsinki.
  • The theme of this years conference is ‘Borders and Crossings: the artist as explorer’ and is intended to celebrate the practice, concept and application of print and printmaking in its widest possible constituency.
  • It is a celebration of the cross-disciplinary nature of print and fits well with Abertay’s own interdisciplinary approach: the Hannah Maclure Centre is part of Abertay’s Institute of Arts, Media and Computer Games, and the Division of Environment and Forensic Sciences where Dr Farrugia works is part of the University’s School of Contemporary Sciences.
  • There is a strong printmaking heritage in Dundee: the publishing company DC Thomson has been printing newspapers and magazines in the city for over 100 years – and it is from the printing industry that the techniques print artists use originate.

Over the centuries, as new inventions and developments were made in the printing industry, artists adopted and experimented with these techniques to make works of art.

Screenprinting, for example – made famous by Andy Warhol’s pop art prints – was initially used for on printing cartons and boxes.

Etching – used to decorate guns, armour, cups and plates – was adopted by artists such as Rembrandt, Goya and Castiglione.

Woodblock printing, used by artists such as Edvard Munch, was originally used for printing the letters in books and newspapers.

And lithography, which was used by Toulouse-Lautrec for his iconic posters of Parisian life, was also originally used as a method of commercial printing.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s