Multidisciplinary artist Justus Harris has a front-row seat to how interconnected our bodies and technology are becoming: he has insulin dependent diabetes and will soon begin using an artificial pancreas. His experiences living with diabetes inform and permeate his art, and they’ve led him to collaborate with physicians, patients, and medical researchers. To create his "Diabetes Data" sculptures, a series of 3D-printed pieces, he worked with individual patients to conceptualize sculptural forms based on a month’s worth of their insulin and blood glucose level data. In his new work, Fountains, which is due to open this month as part of Tech Open Air Berlin, Harris created an installation that merges open water data, body scans, interviews, and 3D imaging to investigate ideas about water pollution, memory, and location. The work, created with mathematician Eric Dolores, won the Environment + Data category for the show, “Adaptation.” This exhibit seeks to build bridges among the public, artists, and technologies. Harris’s work has also been featured at the Stanford School of Medicine, Theorizing the Web NYC, and this fall he will be in residence at a new innovation center for prototyping in Chicago called mHUB. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Univeristät der Künste in Berlin. Harris lives and works in Chicago.
Jennifer Roche, SciArt Magazine: Your work to date draws from not only your training as an artist but also as someone who lives with diabetes. How did you come to understand and integrate your experiences as a patient with your art?
Justus Harris: After graduating from college, I had a period of about six months of intense depression and most of it was connected to feeling like I didn’t understand my health any better than I did when I was a teenager...
Read the full interview at SciArt Magazine. (Photo courtesy Justus Harris)