Duncan Marquiss was our ninth artist in our Visiting Artist Talks. Marquiss notably works with video and his practice is ‘driven by a search for patterns and connections between seemingly disconnected territories and ideas’. In his recent film Evolutionary Jerks & Gradualist Creeps, he looks at both the cultural and the scientific field in order to make connections between the two sectors which at a first glance seem completely exclusive. In this video Niles Eldredge, biologist and palaeontologist and Armand Marie Leroi, professor of Evolutionary Developmental Biology at Imperial College London, are interviewed about the connections between the evolutionary history of fossil records and the evolution of pop music. This connection was described by Eldredge in his theory of Punctuated Equilibria. The key concept here is ‘evolution’, a process that links the two, however metaphorically in regards to pop music. However, Leroi advocates a ‘science of culture’ which traces culture through algorithms, creating a scientific trace of something considered alien from hard scientific fact. ‘Evolution’ is a key concept explore by Marquiss in his process of creating and editing the 30 minute film.

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Evolutionary Jerks & Gradualist Creeps was presented for exhibition at Copying Errors at Dundee Contemporary Arts, along with a selection of his other works from the past five years. Copying Errors is a direct reference to Eldredge, referring to his investigation into genetic variation in a species, suggesting variation is caused by mistakes in copied genetics. In an interview about the exhibition Marquiss described this in relation to his own work, as he tends to incorporate errors into his practice.

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