A NEW exhibition at University College Cork will explore the innate 24-hour cycles that form the timetable of our lives.
The Glucksman has partnered with APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre at UCC for the exhibition ‘Circadian Rhythms’. The centre’s researchers are investigating how gut microbes can influence human circadian rhythms to impact obesity, metabolic disease and brain function.
Open to the public today, the exhibition will feature artists exploring circadian rhythms through reflections on time, the tempo of working life, sleeping patterns, and the impact of modern technologies on biological life. Deregulation of the circadian clock associated with poorly regulated sleep, such as altered sleep cycles among shift workers, has become a feature of modern life and may influence the likelihood of developing conditions associated with poor health.
“Our gut microbiome — the collection of bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tract — plays an essential role in fine-tuning our circadian clock,” explained Professor Paul Ross, Director, APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre. “The microbiome itself has a circadian pattern of activity and sends signals to the human host which help to keep our own circadian clock ticking in perfect time.
“Poor diet can disrupt the microbiome and this finely balanced circadian synchronicity and increase the risk for development of cardio-metabolic diseases.”
The exhibition features the Irish premiere of work by performance artist Tehching Hsieh, who for one year, deprived himself of sleep and travel, to remain in the confines of his studio, punching a time clock on the hour and documenting his appearance.
“We are delighted to showcase the ideas and world-class research of our colleagues in APC Microbiome Ireland through the imaginative work of contemporary Irish and international artists,” said Glucksman Director, Fiona Kearney. “Art and science are linked through creativity, observation and experimentation and this exhibition will give people an opportunity to reflect on how daily and seasonal changes impact the everyday rhythms of our lives.”