Maarten Baas' ‘Real Time: Sweeper's Clock' film will be part of a special UCC exhibition on the circadian rhythm.

UCC exhibition to explore body clock

The new exhibition on our circadian rhythms, the innate 24 hour cycles that tell our bodies when to wake up, when to eat and when to fall asleep, was launched at the Glucksman Gallery last week.

The exhibition will feature Irish and international 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 UCC research has indicated it may increase the likelihood of developing conditions associated with poor health.

APC Microbiome Ireland, an SFI Research Centre at UCC, has studied how gut microbes can influence human circadian rhythms to impact obesity, metabolic disease and brain function.

“Our gut microbiome, the collection of bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tract, plays an essential role in fine-tuning our circadian clock. 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,” said Professor Paul Ross, Director, at APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre.

“Poor diet can disrupt the microbiome and this finely balanced circadian synchronicity, and increase the risk for development of cardio-metabolic diseases. We are delighted to have another opportunity to work with the Glucksman creating this innovative platform to communicate APC research.”

Curated by Chris Clarke and Fiona Kearney, 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.

Glucksman Director Fiona Kearney said: “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.”