FINAL: Not For Medical Use

Title: Not For Medical Use

Artist: Leslie Ewen

Completion Date: 3/15/15

Place of Creation: San Diego

Style: video

Technique: youtube video editor

Material: every image and scan taken during my father’s cancer


I wanted to make a movie using all the images of my father’s brain scans during his cancer treatment. All the images were taken during his cancer treatment at UCIRVINE. Over 25,000 images compiled into a sequential series of images. By uploading all the images into a video format it is possible to watch the evolution of his illness unfold. It also conveys my personal feelings though an artistic expression. A period of hypnotic confusion. The text “not for medical use” a disclaimer that is printed on almost every image I felt further reinforced the theme for this course involving the overlapping of science art and technology. The human need to categorize and compartmentalize data in order to understand and communicate its importance. The human need to reconcile to digest and attempt to understand things that are not so easily understood.

Leslie Ewen


case study: Alan Turing and the “BOMBE’

Alan Turing said to be the grandfather of computer science and artificial intelligence was the first person to imagine putting logic, or a code into a machine to perform specific tasks. Alan was a mathematician and code breaker who designed a machine that was used to decipher war communications transmitted by the “enigma machine” used by German Nazi’s during WWII.

Russland, Verschlüsselungsgerät Enigma Russland, Verschlüsselungsgerät Enigma


BOMBE was the name of an electro-mechanical machine, designed during WWII by Alan Turing and later made faster by Gordon Welchman. They were working as code breakers at Bletchley Park, an estate in the town of Bletchley UK, which was used as the main code-breaking center for British intelligence during the war. The bombe was used to help break the German enigma codes and was (partly) based on the bomba kryptologiczna, an earlier machine developed by the Polish mathematician’s. However the bomba krytologiczna was flawed at breaking the enigma codes once the Germans caught on to the polish key and was able to improve their code accordingly. The British bombe was designed by Turing in 1939 and was successful at deciphering the enigma codes. Gordon Welchman improved the bombe by including a diagonal board that acted as a short cut reducing the number of steps to decipher codes. The original bombe was named “victory” and later updated with the diagonal board. During the war over 200 bombe’s were built and used throughout the war. They were spread throughout the country in outstations in Wavendon, Adsdstock, Gayhurst. Eastcote, and Stanmore. After 1943 an improved version of the BOMBE was created and the Navy and the Army built 120 in the US.

Alan Turing was later convicted of gross indecency for homosexual activity which was illegal at the time and sentenced to hormone therapy as a form of chemical castration.  He later killed himself by lacing an apple with cyanid. He left no note. He was finally granted a royal pardon after several petitions, over 37,000 signatures, and  59 years after his death.



Leslie Ewen

interpretation of body language when the body is invisible

During this weeks lecture I was really interested in how similar the different postures that Dr Deborah showed us were to some of the asanas that are part of my yoga practice. I find it very interesting that something such a body language and meditation, something that has been around and practiced since, well since forever, is something that seems so revolutionary to academics. And it got me thinking about the concept of ‘new age’ being the most ridiculous term from something so old. Aside from my own cynicism I am a huge fan of body language and movement being implemented into education both in terms of expanding students repertories of language but also in terms of bringing meditational practice into lectures as a means for prolonging students attentions and therefore deepening the understanding.

I also was very interested in the idea of body movement in terms of interpretation in a modern technologically driven world. I was reminded of a tv series called, “ lie to me”. A series that follows a doctor who specializes in particular body movement and ticks such as facial muscular recognition as a way to decipher if people are lying.

I got to thinking about how very primitive a skill like that type of observational science must be. Because body language was the first language like with the primates that we watched in the beginning of the lecture that used their body language as a way of establishing trust with other primates. So, then how do we establish trust, even in the most primitive sense, in a world where the body itself is invisible? How can we know we have a friend or how to protect ourselves from potential foes? Furthermore, how can we decipher when one is lying or being deceitful? How do we use our gut ‘feelings’ in a technological space? If our gut feelings have evolved to protect us in the physical world, where does ‘a gut feeling’ fit into a digital world? Where do the nuances involved in expressions, vocal fry, movement and tone fit when the body is invisible?

For example, how do we know when someone is joking v. being serious via text? Or how do we know if a person on a dating website is being honest? Which got me thinking about the potential shifts in seduction in a digital world and how our brains are keeping up with a level of communication that is both incredibly fast and untouchable and the types of indexical language, i.e. emoji that have become so prevalent in digital social media.

mostly this topic got me thinking about lost languages and wondering where do languages go when they die? do they just evolve into new languages that are relevant or can they, more importantly will they be reborn in new forms of technology?

leslie ewen

controlling remotes

Thinking about this weeks lecture and reading I keep coming back to this idea of “remote control” and how maybe it, or they are, or at least could be, controlling us in some way. They are technological devices, as well as an intrinsic part of a some sort of fantasy life, and a tool used to maintain control– a mechanism of power, and a cultural artifact situated in the construction of meaning and therefore identity

I keep thinking about them in terms of power and how perhaps historically speaking they have changed or shaped us as citizens and consumers. Perhaps even more than they themselves have changed. They are obviously the primary interface of communication with the media and wide range of electronics we use as consumers everyday. But how can we use them to shine a light on ourselves? Objectifying them as artifacts of our culture, what do they say about us? Or what when looking back at them historically have they done to shape who we are, or how we think today? How is the “remote control” historically and culturally situated in terms of the construction of identity.

I found this image of siblings fighting over a remote control on website called parent dish parent dish , and was reminded of my childhood.


When I first think of the term “remote control” I think of fighting with my older sister over the television remote. Some of the most epic fights I ever had with my sister were centered on that object. We fought over it constantly. She was several years older and bigger than me. I adapted to this by compensating for my size by outwitting her, often hiding the remote. However, when my father was home without question it would be handed over to him. That thing represented not just power over the television and didn’t just control what was watched on the television but represented sovereignty in the household. It was a tool that was used to dominate and was used to exercise ones power over not just technology but people. Perhaps this is an overly simplified and dramatic example but it also says a lot about me, my childhood, the dynamics in my family, and the actives that went on in my household—in this way its not hard to see how the “remote control” is situated in terms of not only power dynamics but gender and identity as well.

It also begs the question — did the remote control, control me? Did it control me!? Did it mold me? Did I change my behavior based on its presence in a given space? Did it control the space? I would say, yes. So the remote control then can be programed but it also programs its user. One might even say its very design encouraged further consumption and could therefore be seen as a means of remotely controlling and driving economical demands. I mean this is some heavy shit! He who holds the remote, has the power and that in and of itself says almost everything about the patriarchy I was raised in and how the technology and the media participated in shaping who I am and the those around me.


Title: Tracks

Artist: Leslie Ewen

Completion Date: Febuary 14, 2015

Place of Creation: Camera Exposure photo processing lab

Style : Photograph genre: Reprint

Technique Negative print

Material Photo print on silver gelatin photo paper

Link to documentation of piece: http….

Descriptive paragraph: This photograph was produced by scanning a copy of a negative using a digital photo program and computer followed by printing the image with printer on photo paper. The image is a print from the negative obtained in the 2009 edition of Esopus Number 12: Black and White the magazine that published an article by Peter Galison, Pellegrino University Professor in the History of Science and Physics at Harvard University. The article titled: Dark Tracks: A Brief History Of The Bubble Chamber included a negative as part of the piece printed in the magazine. The Photo’s from the negative are originally produced by Stanley Greenberg and printed individually in the pages following the article by Galison. I designed the piece in light of topics such as: cloning, printing, intellectual property and identity. This piece illuminates questions at the intersections of art and science and creates a discussion around the identity of the invisible. Influced by Dorothy Hodgkin, Wilhelm Rontgen, and Eduardo Kac.

Leslie Ewen

the invisible body of space and knowledge without words

im really interested in the body. The body in art, in science, and in space. I was ultimately drawn this week to this idea of the production of space

I am curious about artists that explore notions of objectness, materialism and space; as an art, an object and a body. I started to explore the art and artists that we have covered in lecture and was particularly drawn to this imagine of grace hopper.Unknown-1

Lisa’s comments suggest that the objectness of the papers in her hands and canisters on the desk is lost in relationship to the machine also shown. That their objectness is diminished because of the implied data and code contained in the media, in this case the body of this machine. The idea of storage media was curious to me. Are people just storage media? Just body’s with implied knowledge? does the body of this machine invite us to dig deeper into historically understanding objects without words that emerged from the early printers and computing machines and what they were “bringing into being”.

I started to wonder–Are machines artists? Furthermore, are the objects machines, like printers, are creating; art? It gets sticky suddenly. When one thinks about how historically printers are associated with flat 2d documents and words, information, and ultimately the press, hence printing press. Consequently then is an association, at least in the United States, with the freedom of speech and expression when talking about ‘printers’. But what about when printers are making things without words? Are they still printing? What is printing? If a printer is 3d and creates objects with no words how does that factor into speech? Is a machine like a printer a media, medium or a body and can it be all of those? I find this interesting tension around the idea of machines implied knowledge and the knowledge coming into being through them. How is it that knowledge is being mediated through a machine and being created by a machine at the same time? Who then is the artist? The maker? Or The designer? It may be a slippery slope but I was sucked into a black hole of questions around the body as a machine, and the machine as the body in space, the production of space, and the invisibility of a body in space and I found myself searching for examples of this in contemporary art.Unknown

I found this example clever. Here you see an image of the artist Ceal Floyer’s piece titled, “ Monochrome Till Receipt (white) Shown at the Tate museum in 1999.

Monochrome Till Receipt (White) 1999 by Ceal Floyer born 1968

a closer look at what is being displayed is the 393×80 mm ink on paper on wall. But it’s a receipt?!? Is that art?   Ceal Floyer is an artist known for her work in a variety of mediums that share a wry approach to language and the semiotics and not only invites the viewers to renegotiate their perception of the world but, forces them too. Here is a wonderfully silly way of approaching the deeper implications and analysis of contemporary art. Where is the art happening? Where does art happen anyways? Is it on the wall? Is it in the materials being displayed? Is there a creator? Is the maker the register that printed the receipt or the person buying the contents of what is being displayed on the receipt? In this piece the body is invisible in space. Is the art here just an idea that sparks the social commentary surrounding the knowledge that is being communicated through its display? Or is it all just bullshit?

Leslie Ewen

week two post

Gattaca provides an image of a futuristic society that categorizes and finds difference in its people primarily through markers in their genetic make up. This society has the power to choose traits for their unborn children based on what society has deemed ‘desirable’. In this world we find a society that is split between those who have been genetically created, valids, and those who have not, invalids. A simple drop of blood is all that is needed to find out: what your potential is, what your capable of doing, and even when you are going to die. This film begs the question: What is happening in the world of genetic testing? Is this too far? What is too far? Who gets left out? And who gets to ultimately decide? This film was set in the future but its not the first time we’ve seen the dangerous of eugenics.

Sound familiar?


Is this research a good thing? What are the benefits of this knowledge? Or is it art? as we saw in the example of the glow in the dark bunny, alba.


 Is this something that will help our society, mock it or hurt it? How far into discovering something is too far? Who and what does new knowledge or even furthermore, the discovery of truth; benefit or threaten?

Gattaca presents an ideology that in many ways seems to eliminate personal interactions as a means of knowing someone. All the information needed for understanding a person is deduced from a drop of blood. Interestingly, the body itself, as a marker, is being eliminated from social interactions. Others ability to draw most conclusions about a person isnt gathered interpersonally. Rather, that information is gathered through the preconceived notions of their genetics and assigned status. So then the body itself– is no longer the source of truth for ones identity.


As we saw in gattaca the main character was able to fool others into believing he was valid. His blood was that of valid persons and no one was looking for physical markers that would have given him away.   For example no one noticed that he wore contacts, it was assumed because he was a valid that he had perfect vision and it was through that assumption that his body didn’t betray his secret. If one can fool or trick others into believing they belong, then they do. If the genetics in the blood you give say you are: beautiful, tall, athletic, and intelligent, that is accepted as fact in Gattaca.

But, what does this say about perception and perfection really? Furthermore, society as a whole? What does this say about the value of personal attributes? Character? Or even one’s virtues? Where in your genetic makeup does that come up? Why doesn’t it seem important? What does this say about the existence or preservation of a person’s soul? I couldn’t help but wonder…

what about kindness


And optimism?


Why were these not considered to be attributes of a perfect person in the future? Is the need to be kind somehow irrelevant when your tall, athletic, good looking and intelligent? More importantly, is this film a more of a satire of an already contemporary reality?  Consider yourselves warned and remember its never too late to be kind, you can always be kind. 

Leslie Ewen