Megan Lindeman is an artist and a professor. She mixes paint and pigments with oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone and acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and is involved in a lot of complex brain behavior like bonding and trusting.


New Enlightened Era with Text Message Green is a series of works made from gouache mixed with oxytocin and archival inkjet prints mounted on acrylic glass. Within each piece in this series there are three main elements that interact with one another. There is a reference to a fragmented text message shape, there is a photographic element (though the photograph’s imagery is somewhat ambiguous) and there is the inclusion of hormones.These three visual elements -the text message bubble, the photograph, and the hormones- work together to signify a kind of fragmented and dissolving communication and an adjacent opportunity and desire for actual connection and bonding.

The hormone used in the work is oxytocin. Oxytocin is the literal substance that allows humans to experience feelings of connection. This hormone acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and is involved in a lot of complex brain activity like bonding and trusting. I simply mix trace amounts of the molecule with pigments. For example in this work the color identified as text message green is made up of various pigments mixed with water and oxytocin. Glass vials of the hormones are also included within certain arrangements. In New eNlightened Era COMING SOON With Text Message Green and Oxytocin (2018) one vial sits atop a photograph and in another work a vial clings to one side of a photograph. I use the hormone because I aim to both visually and conceptually join the tangible with the intangible.

I think our existence together on this earth can in some ways be narrowed down to two types of experiences; ones that are tangible in nature and deal with tangible matter, or are intangible in nature and deal with intangible material and qualities. Hormones play a part in both experiences; they are the tangible evidence of certain intangible feelings. So by including hormones in my work feelings and emotions become an idea and a material you can hold on to. The substance that provides connection and bonding is literally in the work.

The photographic element in this work functions much more ambiguously. The rectangular shape of the photograph is maintained to some degree but the imagery inside the rectangular shape is cropped and not distinct. If you look closely you might be able make out some kind of form but more often the form appears to be dissolving into pure color and light. It just so happens that the photograph is actually of the human body but again it has been altered and edited in a way to emphasize a kind of dissolving and partial view. The text message shape is also fragmented and it acts as a frame or delivery mechanism for the photograph.

The titles of the work serve as anchors for the various moving visual parts of the work. The phrase“New enlightened era COMING SOON” is used because I see my work existing within the expansive structure of world history. I am looking at our current moment and I see and anticipate a need to create a more enlightened era where we disregard fragmentation and disconnection and resound to acknowledged a shared whole with actual connectivity (that is less mediated by technology).