Niche tells the story of an artist who meets a scientist and through the encounter makes a hypothesis: If the artist became a stem cell and then divided into a neuron, would he discover the meaning of intelligence? David Edwards and Jay Cantor introduce a new fiction genre—the novel catalogue—to coincide with the opening of the new art and design innovation center in Paris, Le Laboratoire. In the novel catalogue, the process through which creators create matters as much as the works that result from the creation. The novel catalogue fictionalizes the creative process of an exhibition season which opens with the artistic outcome of an experiment between Fabrice Hyber, a French artist, and Robert Langer of MIT.
David Edwards is Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Engineering at Harvard University and is founding director of Le Laboratoire in Paris and the Idea Translation Lab at Harvard. His work spans the arts and sciences and lies at the core of a network of multi-disciplinary labs in Europe, Africa, and the United States. Edwards is the founder of Medicine in Need and the Boston-based Cloud Foundation, which oversees Cloud Place, a dynamic center for urban youth arts, and launched the $100K ArtScience Innovation Prize. The youngest-ever member of the National Academy of Engineering, Edwards was a featured speaker at Davos in 2010. His creative work is described at www.davidideas.com.
Jay Cantor is the author of three previous novels, The Death of Che Guevara, Krazy Kat, and Great Neck, and two books of essays, The Space Between and On Giving Birth to One’s Own Mother. He is Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Tufts University.