The marriage of art and science often requires the sharing of unique characteristics. Skeletal muscle cells have provided a format in which the biology mimics the interaction of the artist and scientist within a common framework. This interaction, like the complex mechanism of fused muscle cells themselves, reveals and reminds those in both disciplines of the remarkable dynamic of movement between the two fields. This movement stimulates and rewards the artist and the scientist alike. For a scientist who works closely with artists, it is important to re-visit the fundamental concepts that drive the curiosity and stimulate the passion.
Living Viral Tattoos (2008) is a research-creation project featuring the development of sculptures made in vitro. The creation of tattoos in the form of blue ‘bruises’ on pig skin and donated human skin was made using retroviruses, cell and tissue culture and immunohistochemical stains. This technical paper presents the protocols created and materials used in the project with the intention of contributing to an open source model for the development of wetware and biological art processes.