Artist-in-Infection Sheds Light On HIV/AIDS

The UK artist John Walter (left) has taken on a rather unusual role in the past six months: resident artist-in-infection at University College London (UCL), working alongside Greg Towers (right), professor of molecular virology, in the university’s Division of Infection and Immunity. Walter has drawn upon Towers’s revolutionary research on HIV/Aids for a project called Capsid due to go on show at CGP gallery in London in June, and at Home in Manchester next year. Towers and his team discovered that “channels in the viral core, known as the capsid, act like molecular hoovers sucking in the raw materials that fuel the virus’ replication”, says a

project statement. Walter’s new work will subsequently explore the inner workings of the virus (36.7 million people worldwide are infected; drugs extend life expectancy but there is no cure). “The story of how the capsid functions has wider connotations beyond HIV/Aids. My work explores both this latest discovery and how it can be used as a metaphor for how culture is transmitted,” Walter says in a statement.

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