New York

Jes Fan, Diagram VI, 2018, Aqua-Resin, glass, epoxy, 6 × 13 × 5".

Jes Fan, Diagram VI, 2018, Aqua-Resin, glass, epoxy, 6 × 13 × 5".

Jes Fan

Recess Activities, Inc.

Jes Fan, Diagram VI, 2018, Aqua-Resin, glass, epoxy, 6 × 13 × 5".

At Recess, a roomful of strangers seated themselves around folding tables and sliced open dead squid. They sifted through viscera to locate the cephalopods’ ink sacs, which they then extracted, pierced, and squeezed, draining the organs’ viscous contents into jars. Artist Jes Fan led the autopsy. He circled the tables to lend each group hands-on help, and he distributed a DIY pamphlet with a diagram of squid innards and several pages of fun facts on melanin, the biomolecule that gives squid ink its dark hue. Melanin absorbs gamma radiation, which is why melanized fungal microorganisms can survive in space stations and the ruins of Chernobyl. Scientists say that a protective layer of melanin could, in the future, be applied to the hulls of interplanetary vessels. Of course, melanin is also found in human skin at varying concentrations, resulting in the range of complexions that

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 2019 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.