Laura Splan, from the series Doilies, 2004 (source)
“Doilies is a series of computerized machine embroidered doilies. The design of each doily is based on a different viral structure [SARS, HIV, Herpes virus, Influenza virus, and Hepadna/Hepatitis B virus, respectively]. The lace doily has traditionally referenced designs and motifs from nature. Furthermore, these decorative objects would be heirlooms, handed down from one generation to the next. The work explores the “domestication” of microbial and biomedical imagery. Many recent events, epidemics, and commercial products have brought this imagery into our living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. Bio-terrorism, SARS, and antibacterial soaps alike have all heightened our awareness of the microbial world. Doilies serve as a metaphor for the way we have adapted our everyday lives to these now everyday concerns. Here domestic artifacts and heirlooms manifest the psychological heredity of our cultural anxieties.”
I never thought I’d want to be the proud owner of a doily. For starters, that’s one of the most awkward words to type out or say in the entire English language. Just try it.
But if you’re going to make viral capsid structures out of them? I’d throw these on my sofa any day of the week.