Photo: Melanie K in London

Melanie K

Artist, Maker, Curator, Event organiser
Early career

The main focus of my research at Central Saint Martins was of the soap bubble. In 17th Century Dutch Vanitas paintings, the bubble was used as a visual metaphor to remind the viewer of the transient nature of life. The soap bubble exists for just a couple of seconds, a perfect sphere, reflecting and refracting its surroundings beautifully. Due to the dryness of the air surrounding the soap bubble, and the pull of gravity, the bubble eventually bursts. It was almost as if the bubble never existed. The Dutch artists of the Golden Age, likened the existence of life to the every-day phenomena of the soap bubble, and now with superior knowledge of the universe we can draw more comparisons. From looking at the universe, we have discovered that life has only inhabited a tiny portion of the entirety of time and space, and is therefore incredibly precious. Alike the soap bubble, life exists for a (relatively) short time, before it 'pops' out of existence. The idea of 'life as a bubble' holds weight in scientific arenas, as in contemporary cosmological theory, scientists often compare cosmological happenings to bubbles and foam. The idea spans from inflation theory, to multiverse theory - the idea that the universe exists as one bubble universe in a sea of cosmic foam. In this constellation Cassiopeia, there sits a Bubble Nebula which measures over six light-years across, having been blown by cosmic winds. This idea even extends to quantum science relating to the birth of the universe, as some scientists believe that the universe exists as a quantum fluctuation from nothing, something that can be easily understood by watching a soap bubble emerge and then disappear within a matter of seconds. More recently, I have been researching embryology inspired by the work of the late Helen Chadwick, and have been contemplating "life as a bubble" on a microscopic level. We start life as a collection of permeable round cells slowly growing within an amniotic sac which provides us everything we need to survive within the womb. Outside of the womb, we may consider our very consciousness as a bubble, a concept which has been explored by the writer Peter Sloterdijk in his book "Bubbles; Microspherology". read full statement

Location London
Activities Residencies, Workshops, Curating, Events management, Photographic documentation
Artforms / type of project Curatorial project, Photography, Printmaking
Tags alternative photography, space, cosmology, central saint martins, art and science, neuroscience, glass blowing, vanitas