'Wetware' Ground Floor Gallery, The Complex, Dublin, 2018. Image by Jack Farrell

Collagen type 1

Collagen type 1 is an interrogation of the two defensive structures of an egg. This video documents the disintegration and disfiguration of an egg shell, leaving the naked membrane exposed.

Egg shells are made almost entirely of calcium carbonate crystals. When a whole egg is semi-submerged in acetic acid the crystals dissolve completely leaving only the membrane and egg. Through experimentation, it was discovered that an empty egg shell submerged in the acid creates mounds of calcium and blemishes on the surface as the crystals become displaced.

Beneath the surface of the shell is a selectively permeable membrane composed of collagen type 1. This same compound can also be found in human skin. This membrane keeps harmful substances out, allows water in, and acts as a vessel for the egg. It simultaneously protects and traps the egg, and only when the egg is released through a wound in the membrane can the calcium crystals be formed.

Collagen type 1 exhibited in Wetware, The Complex, Dublin (2018). Image by Jack Farrell