Project: Silk Poems

Nanoimprinted on silk film and read through a microscope, the Silk Poems is an experimental work that takes this textile as its subject and form, exploring the cultural, scientific, and linguistic complexities of silk, mending, and the body. Silk, as a material, is compatible with body tissues; our immune system accepts it on surfaces as sensitive as the human brain.  In conjunction with Tufts University’s Silk Lab, Bervin fabricated a film from liquified silk with a poem written nanoscale in a six-character chain that corresponds to the DNA and the silkworm’s filament drawing method. This project includes consulting nanotechnology and biomedical labs as well as over thirty international textile archives, medical libraries, and sericulture sites in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Awardee: Jen Bervin

Literature, 2013

Jen Bervin is an interdisciplinary artist and poet whose conceptually driven works weave together art, writing, science and life in a complex yet elegant way. Her work explores the intersection of text and textiles in acts of reading, writing, listening through the lens of traditional craft and cutting edge technology. Bervin's work is the subject of solo exhibitions at the Des Moines Art Center, BRIC, and Granoff Center for the Arts at Brown University, is featured in group exhibitions at MASS MoCA, The Power Plant in Toronto, Harvard Natural History Museum, and the Walker Art Center, and can be found in more than thirty international collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, and The J. Paul Getty Museum. Bervin has published nine books; Silk Poems is forthcoming from Nightboat Books in 2017. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including The Rauschenberg Residency (2016), Asian Cultural Council Fellowship (2016), and a Creative Capital Grant (2013), and is currently a SETI Institute Artist in Residence, a program that facilitates a cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas between artists and scientists, and will be a 2018 Artist in Residence at Northwestern University.