Intrabody Wireless Network

Russian American Cultural Center

Mar. 13, 2024 - Apr. 14, 2023

520 East 76th Street
New York, 10021

“Intrabody Wireless Network” is a show of eighteen drawings and collages by Dmitry Borshch, in which he shows the architecture of such networks, their components referred to as nanomachines (biological, physical, chemical sensors, routers, antennas, interface devices), options for communicating (molecular, electromagnetic – in the terahertz band, acoustic, nanomechanical), and this type of network’s applications (human, plant, industrial). Borshch refers to channel modeling in his collages, path loss of an electromagnetic wave as it travels or propagates through a medium, like our body, terahertz channel noise, other phenomena that affect wave and signal propagation, latency, reliability of nanosensors, information decoding / encoding, protocols for wireless body area networks. The artist’s drawings include references to actuators based on carbon nanotubes, transducers that convert electromagnetic to biochemical signals and the opposite, biochemical to electromagnetic, nanotube-, nanoribbon-, nanoparticle-based sensing units, capacitors, transceivers, piezoelectric energy harvesting.

“To call them anatomical illustrations in which human and network anatomies are shown is too broad,” he says, “nano-bio illustrations – the merging of nanoscale technology with human, animal, plant biologies – too narrow, because microscale and above devices are involved in the operation of these networks. One may call them biotech pictures; our entry into the Nano-Bio (some are calling it Bio-Nano) Age renders this type of illustration very contemporary, even urgently so. It entered art with Leonardo, exited when illustrations became computer-generated and photographic, may reenter art now… Science illustration, like medical or botanical, is practiced mostly by commercial illustrators today, not artists, many of whom moved away from representational art more than a century ago, joining the abstract movement.

‘How may one picture these unseen and unseeable – except through resolution to the nanometer level – objects, their interaction with humans, the nanoobject-human boundary?’ I asked myself when drawing this show. ‘Not through Leonardo’s dissection of cadavers…’ A science enthusiast in me, for whom scientific considerations outweigh aesthetic ones struggled with the draftsman-collagist who places the latter above all others – that’s one struggle, another was inside my pictures – nanotechnology struggling with our bodies for control of their functions, not an illusion but a beginning-to-emerge reality. These struggles warrant a dramatic style of Albinus’ Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani, Bidloo’s Anatomia humani corporis, Estienne’s De dissectione partium corporis humani libri tres, and Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica libri septem, with or without an effort to produce a life-size anatomy like Paolo Mascagni’s (size can heighten drama). Whoever manages to create art from this struggle of two anatomies – human (or plant, animal) and nanotechnological – becomes a hero like Rembrandt’s Doctor Nicolaes Tulp, heroized for offering to his pupils new knowledge about the body.”

Dmitry further says, “My pictures are not connected to Russian or Italian Futurism as I explicitly connect them to the history of medical illustration instead of rejecting it. If we completely rethink the meaning of Ego-Futurism as it developed in Russia during the early years of twentieth century, the word may apply to these pictures because they show the struggle – it will only intensify – between our naturally developing egos and technological influences on them. Also, there are skulls in my collages, flowering plants, but without symbolic or allegorical meaning; they do not symbolize transience, impermanence, mutability, lives passing all too quickly, as in the vanitas still life.” He adds, “Two other matters restricting what our show includes: position of the device in relation to the body and its scale. Injectable, ingestible, implantable, inhalable nano- and micro-devices are in this show, wearable ones are not (electronic or e-skin, as a device outside the body, is also not included).”

“What moved you to create the show?” RACC’s director Khidekel asks. “Thoughts of inevitable misuse of this technology did,” answers Borshch. “It will inevitably be used to control humans, not ‘improve’ them, as transhumanists are hoping. Some will be ‘improved’ but not many others so it cannot be described as a transhumanist project. Inequalities heightened, dissent quashed by nanomachines, surreptitious collection of biochemical data from inside us (which enables remote assessment – cognitive, neurological, neuropsychological – of groups, not only individuals), body tracking, much deeper surveillance than now are in our future, considering that research on intrabody technologies has been supported by foundations and universities in China, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar. We also know project MKUltra did not end the interest of our government in ‘behavioral modification’, at either individual or group scale. The aims of one MKUltra subproject (it was funded in nineteen sixty) included knowing more about techniques for ‘activation’ of human behavior through remote means. Here is a context where such knowledge has become realistically usable: as nanoobjects may be delivered with vaccines (not only COVID but polio, monkeypox, influenza), after which they start collecting biochemical data and transmitting it wirelessly to a data center for analysis, based on its result governments could ‘activate’ behavior deemed expedient to themselves, like sedating democracy activists by ordering nanoobjects to release sedatives they hold in their drug containers.

Non-surreptitious, broad, voluntary adoption of intrabody networks in medicine is unlikely as patients, except the most desperate, afflicted with terminal illnesses, will refuse them, being concerned about terahertz / megahertz radiation’s effect on their bodies, toxicity of graphene (and derivatives like graphene oxide), its ability to puncture cell membranes, otherwise damage them, interfere with reproductive function in both sexes, contribute to the beginning of neurodegenerative disease. Machines within those networks are able to pass the blood-brain barrier, excite regions of the brain, collect and process neuroinformation, so there will be patients’ fears – conveyed in these or some other words – of unwanted neuromodulation, neurostimulation, neurocontrol. Their privacy being violated is always a fear. In crop, edible plant monitoring this technology is also unlikely to be used as consumers won’t buy plants injected with nanomachines. Yet their industrial use, like detection of very small fractures, and in surveillance undoubtedly will grow…”

Dmitry concludes, “Under the title ‘Внутрительная беспроводная сеть’ I expected this show to happen in May of last year at Skolkovo Innovation Center, where two shows of mine happened recently, and five months later at Kuban State Medical University, but after the invasion of Ukraine in February that became no longer possible. At my request, the university library staff provided us (myself and assistants) with reproductions of pages from L’antiquité expliquée, et représentée en figures, Monumenti antichi inediti spiegati ed illustrati, Recueil d’antiquités. I mentioned humorously to the staff that when nanoobjects in our show become outdated, supplanted by newer technologies, pictures of them may be collected in antiquarian volumes similar to those. A few of the reproductions are shown in ‘Intrabody Wireless Network’.”

For almost 15 years Dmitry has collaborated with Russian American Cultural Center. It was founded in 1998 by Dr. Regina Khidekel and earned its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in 1999. RACC aims to provide permanent cultural representation to more than 700,000 Russian-speaking residents of New York. The center has adopted and broadened the strategy of organizations like No Longer Empty, which invigorate neighborhoods by mounting exhibitions in their unutilized or temporarily underutilized spaces. Visitors coalesce around a space where art may have never been exhibited before.

RACC Satellite Space in Garden City
1205 Franklin Avenue, 3rd Floor, Garden City, NY 11530

March 13, 10 am – April 14, 7 pm
Monday – Friday, 10 am – 7 pm, free admission

Please write to [email protected] or call (347) 662 1456
The artist is available for interviews

Return to list of all exhibitions