October 9, 2015 to April 30, 2016

An unsettling audio-visual installation exploring malaria

In 2012 Deborah Robinson was artist-in-residence at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. During this time she explored the research of the Malaria Programme and spent many hours with scientists, observing laboratory work and discussing the challenges involved in controlling the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, and its vector, the mosquito. The residency culminated in the development of an audio-visual installation, Parasite. Robinson explores the life cycle of the parasite that causes malaria and how its ability to adapt has continuously challenged the scientists endeavouring to combat its deadly effects. Working with sound artist David Strang, Robinson programmed archival films from the malaria eradication campaigns of the 1950s with a software “parasite”. The films are accompanied by a sinister mosquito soundtrack and slowly erode as they loop, mirroring the effect of the disease on red blood cells.


About the artist

Deborah Robinson is an artist who makes audio-visual installation artwork that is based on interdisciplinary collaboration. This has included working with biologists, ecologists, biomedical experts, technologists, literary theorists and specialists in mental health. She is interested in the social issues that accompany scientific research and how public exhibitions provide a space for dialogue with the public.

About the commission

The artist residency and production of the work was funded by Arts Council England. Research for the project was supported by an ESRC Genomics Forum Bright Ideas fellowship, and also University of Plymouth.