Eye Poison: Viruses As Glass Sculptures

December 15, 2009


Luke Jerram is an artist who makes glass sculptures of diseases (that's HIV there) to shed some light on the fact that most diseases, despite what you may have seen in textbooks, are actually clear and not the psychedelic tendrilled blobs of death you previously thought. Yeah? Well I never thought that! (They're not little wizards that live inside you?)

These transparent glass sculptures were created to contemplate the global impact of each disease and to consider how the artificial colouring of scientific imagery affects our understanding of phenomena. Jerram is exploring the tension between the artworks' beauty and what they represent, their impact on humanity.

The question of pseudo-colouring in biomedicine and its use for science communicative purposes, is a vast and complex subject. If some images are coloured for scientific purposes, and others altered simply for aesthetic reasons, how can a viewer tell the difference? How many people believe viruses are brightly coloured? Are there any colour conventions and what kind of 'presence' do pseudocoloured images have that 'naturally' coloured specimens don't?

Interesting thought, Luke, I suggest we stage an anti-pseudocoloring protest. Don't worry, I'll take care of all the catchy slogans. "WE DON'T WANT VIRUSES, WE WANT PIRATE-SES!" Well, what do you think? Yeah, I forgot what we were protesting.

Hit the jump for several more viruses (see filename for which virus) along with a video of the HIV being made. And you thought it was monkeys!






Glass Microbiology [lukejerram's website] (with a bunch more higher quality images)

Thanks to David, who

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