Pandora’s Box was exhibited in the Who Am I Gallery at the Science Museum London. This site specific work was created to encourage discussion about the ethical social dilemmas that face us all when considering the implications of genetic screening.
The lead casket is gilded on the inside with gold leaf, representing inner beauty and knowledge. Emerging from the casket is a double helix twist made from computer punch tape, symbolising the early era of collecting and storing data. Have we now reduced ourselves to a code?
Hanging above the casket, like Tibetan prayer flags, are strips of velum. This is calf skin manuscript which has been used over many centuries, for valuable documents such as the Magna Carta. It’s an ancient medium and this material is embossed with excerpts from a study that looked at how people felt about prenatal genetic screening. Placing value on their experiential knowledge.
Appleyard-Fox had been working in collaboration with Dr Felicity Boardman, the study’s author, to look at the statements taken from people affected by the genetic condition Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Felicity has been undertaking research into the way experiential knowledge of disability may affect decision making in pre-natal screening. Appleyard-Fox wanted to produce a piece that represented the multiple voices who had taken part in the study at the same time as bringing this topic to the wider public.