inside out

Aesthetic Crossovers in Art and Science (VISA2214) allowed me to explore not only the art and science crossovers in the life sciences, but introduced me to a new way of seeing and interpretation by artists and scientists.

One of the assignments was to produce a prototype. As I was still considering the question ‘what is art?’ it took some time to decide on an approach that I perceived as suitable to complete the work. However, the prototype gave me an excuse to review the histology slides from my Medical Technology degree which was an added bonus.

From the many slides, I selected two views and prepared some digital images.

I did not wish to create a temporary piece, so settled on making a paper mache object. My idea was formed from remembering that a long time ago, anatomical models were made from paper mache.

During the lectures and tutorial sessions I learnt that ‘things’ can be be classified into non-human animals and human animals. I decided to create a cat as I thought I could observe my own pets and use the photographs to realise the 3D object. Also, I liked the idea that I was superimposing human animal cells on a non-human animal.

Having not made paper mache before, I found some resources on the internet to provide some guidance. I found the initial making of the shape or form somewhat frustrating, but the layering of the paper mache over some weeks was time pleasantly spent. Time really did slip by as I got absorbed in the project.

paper mache cat (liver cells, naphol green)

Green Cat (liver cells stained with naphol green)

Red Cat (lung cells stained with H & E)

Red Cat (lung cells stained with H & E)

The final part of the assignment was to give a presentation. I took my prototypes in our cat cage covered in cloth. It was quite fun to see my classmates looking into the cage to see if my biological art was alive. My presentation probably does not stand alone, but it is included here as part of the documentation for my project.

Green Cat and Red Cat are not yet completed. I have been asked to consider giving them a face. I’m still thinking on this.

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