Lumitrace

Beatrice Haines (UK)
Installation, 2014

Lumitrace is an animated sculpture where luminol is dripped onto a human form made of blood and resin. Commonly used to detect blood in forensics, luminol displays chemiluminescence when it comes into contact with the iron in haemoglobin.

The sculpture itself is not visible in the darkened space, only the striations of luminol as they react with the blood. This emits a temporary blue glow that lasts about thirty seconds when applied to traces of blood. The luminol is dispensed intermittenly and the source of the droplet varies in position each time. As visitors view the sculpture, they can slowly build up an overall image of the form as different sections and contours are revealed bit by bit.

Each abstract glow will accumulate in the viewer’s memory. The longer they watch the sculpture, the more visual information they glean and the more recognisable the form will become. The figure is posed like a modern anatomical illustration, combining a contrasting ethereal and scientific aesthetic, while also exploring the body as a vessel for blood and trace.

About the artist: 

Beatrice Haines is particularly interested in blood as trace. Her work is often inspired by forensics following a residency at the University of Abertay’s forensics department alongside Kevin Farrugia. Just as blood acts as a trace in forensics, the delicate glow of luminol gently fades with time, reminiscent of the transience of life.