By Culture24 Staff
A scientist investigating whether patients receiving organ transplants take on the characteristics of their donors is appealing to the public to tell their stories and have their portraits taken for a new exhibition at the University of London.
Laura Cuch, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, wants to explore the psychological impact of receiving an organ in Trans, a project combining photographs of people who have had transplants with tales of their experiences.
She took on the idea after reading about people whose taste, personality or behaviour had changed after their transplants – often displaying strong connections with the lives of their donors.
““There was one man who had never been writing before, yet after the transplant he found himself writing poetry - the donor had been a keen writer,” she says.
“There has been some recent neurological research that suggests that memories can be stored in other body organs and not just the brain. They look at the neurological activity and responses from the heart, for example.
“I set out to interview individuals and to record their stories. It’s about understanding the ways in which people make sense of what’s happened in their own terms.”
The display will feature large-scale portraits of participants. Cuch has interviewed 16 respondents so far, but is hoping to find at least ten more.
The exhibition is part of a trilogy she has worked on, following Sleepless – a series telling the stories of people who suffered extreme sleep deprivation – and No Ma, focusing on women certain they would never have children.