Landscape Within: Burton Nitta

18 Sep 2017 – 22 Sep 2017

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Cost of entry


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Westminster Reference Library

England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Tube: Charing X / Leicester Square
  • Charing Cross
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An exhibition of new artwork created by art duo, consisting of Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta (Burton Nitta) in collaboration with scientists, reimagines ourselves in a future landscape of heavy metal contamination.


The new artwork created by Burton Nitta in collaboration with scientists proposes ‘you are what you eat and where your food is grown’. Visitors  are invited to reimagine their future exploring new organs and machines that use plants, bacteria, food, worms and frogs, to help us thrive in contaminated landscapes.

The exhibition will reveal how our bodies and minds are changed by our industrial activity and waste. The work presents new body-parts and machines to adapt us for a future landscape that is contaminated with heavy metals left behind from past industry and waste.

“How to thrive in a future contaminated world”

The artworks are made in collaboration with Dr Susan Hodgson at Imperial College London who investigates the impact of contamination exposure on our health. Through her research the work navigates surprising future impacts of heavy metals found in some foods on our body and mind. For instance:

Mercury (Hg): fish such as tuna and swordfish contain concentrated levels of mercury which can affect foetal development

Arsenic (As): this heavy metal can be absorbed from contaminated fields into rice plants and when eaten in large quantities can cause cancer

Lead (Pb): some plants such as wheat can absorb this metal. After entering the body lead can lower a person’s IQ level

The artworks explore alternative visions of our bodies and the way we exist in order to adapt to this future landscape. The use of synthetic biology is key to the systems within the artworks. Through a collaboration with Dr Louise Horsfall at the University of Edinburgh, Burton Nitta integrate engineered bacteria within new proposals to extract heavy metal contamination from food.

In reaction to this investigation visitors can expect to explore the past, present and future through artworks that use plants, engineered bacteria, frogs, worms, sound, robots, dance and objects.

For more information about Burton Nitta and the project, please visit www.burtonnitta.co.uk or contact us at admin@burtonnitta.co.uk

First Floor Exhibition Space

Westminster Reference Library

35 St Martin’s Street, London WC2H 7HP

Please note there is no wheelchair, lift or ramp access to this building


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