Yesterday, Fusion Arts in Oxford hosted a day for scientists from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics to talk about their research to the local community – they made it accessible and fun.
My children loved it. One made a bracelet based on DNA formation and the other played a DNA code breaking game.
My lightbox was on show in this first of a series of events for the project.
It’s such a relief that almost all the plates worked well, on a technical level and on a visual level.
Given that the microscopy image of the nuclei (the blue image my lightbox was based upon) reminded me of a carborundum print, it is disappointing that my carborundum print didn’t work as well as the others. Now I need to work into the plate more to develop the image.
The prints from the engraved plate has a depth to the lines, the drypoints, a purity of line and the etched perspex plates, which seemed to be pretty ugly, beautiful textures.
I shall now edition them and get going with the large versions.
Thanks to Annina, the researcher I’m working with, the collaboration is inspiring. Here are some of her thoughts:
It is fascinating to have the unique opportunity to see your own research through completely different eyes. The collaboration with Jonathan made me focus on the “raw information” that is conveyed in my graphs and images, rather than the technical details and analyses my work normally focuses on. Through Jonathan’s eyes, flow cytometry graphs became a video and a glimpse through the microscope became layers of engraved perspex.
The light box is a fascinating reflection of the thymus that I observe through the microscope. For me the multiple layers reflect the network through which the T cells travel and where their fate is decided by the thymic epithelial cells. By slightly changing the angle of observation the image changes and becomes dynamic, just like the thymus itself, which allows our body to constantly adapt to new immune challenges.
Working with an artist on my research topic has been incredibly interesting and it made me realize that even though our work is very different, in the end, we are both trying to find new and interesting information by experimenting – me in the laboratory and Jonathan in his studio.
Printing went well yesterday. There is almost an alchemy when the image is released from the plate – when everything comes together, it’s a magical moment.
I worked out which plates have mileage and which will be editioned, which will be worked into and which abandoned.
Thankfully, the engraving worked. I shall edition the small version, but also create a series of prints from a large engraved plate that will accompany my large light boxes to form an installation.
This project started life as a printmaking project and the printmaking process informs the way I approach the subject matter of T-cells. When I look at the files of the T-cells, the details of the nucleus and the visual data, I have a particular method of printmaking in mind. I have prepared plates of all kinds: carborundum, drypoint, engraving and etching and shall be proofing them today.