Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive coccus that forms “grape-like” clusters of cells. It is also known for the “golden” appearance of its colonies, which is produced by a protective carotenoid pigment called Staphyloxanthin (Clanditz et al., 2006). S. aureus is an opportunistic pathogen with many toxins and virulence factors at its disposal.
The microbe I fear most, in a rather pretty photo
Frozen H&E section of normal skeletal muscle.
Some people might point out that “conformations” and “configurations” are also concepts in organic chemistry that mean much the same thing, and that this post is a thinly disguised effort to teach concepts in organic chemistry through a discussion of cats. Horseshit. This is 100% cat content here people! This is a cat blog.
Possibly one of the most magnificent things of all time.
Of all time.
Where was this when I was learning organic chemistry??
Constance Jacobson is a Boston-based artist/printmaker whose work explores existential fascinations and fears. Drawing from the practice of medical imaging, Jacobson focuses on the aesthetic and poetic implications of a scientific process. These “physiograms” — Jacobson’s term for her “fabricated scientific imagery” — recall our modern preoccupation with the afflicted or deteriorating brain, and our fear of dementia, “the death before death.” In an interview with Lois Tarlow, Jacobson describes the relationship between disciplines in her work:
“These fantasy images are not concerned with strict biological verisimilitude…While viewing these images after completing them, I was struck by the essential difference in perception between the scientist and the artist: when looking through a microscope at a dissection or an x-ray a scientist asks, ‘What is the content of what I am seeing and what are the implications?’ while the artist asks, ‘How does this appear, and how can I transform this into an aesthetic, personal or historical/cultural statement?’ The phenomenology of viewing is paramount for the artist, and veracity means only that the subject matter be visually believable within the imaginary world the artist has established for the viewer.”
See more of Jacobson’s work at her website here.
Science, statistics, and design, and graphic art meet in Chad Hagen’s work. I’m a sucker for his bright colors, bold geometric shapes, and bright colors.
The above is an illustration for The New Yorker article “Sex and the Superbug” regarding drug-resistant gonorrhea
In this work, Crave, the artist Kate MacDowell has hand-sculptured porcelain to make a human/plant hybrid. MacDowell is better known for her animal/plant hybrids, but in this series the plant appears to grow out of human veins and body parts. As MacDowell discusses the influences in her work,
“The romantic ideal of a union with the natural world conflicts with our contemporary impact on the environment. These pieces are in part responses to environmental stressors including climate change, toxic pollution, and gm crops. They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones. In some pieces aspects of the human figure stand-in for ourselves and act out sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous transformations which illustrate our current relationship with the natural world. In each case the union between man and nature is shown to be one of friction and discomfort with the disturbing implication that we too are vulnerable to being victimized by our destructive practices.”
To see more of MacDowell’s works, click here.
CT scan of a 4 year old male who presented with with seizures, non-enhancing temporal lobe lesion
Britt Wray DIY Body
Britt Wray, an artist with a background in biology, developed DIY Body as a participatory art project. Wray was inspired by DIY approaches to crafting and biology to create downloadable body patterns that crafters could then use to create their own body parts. The end result was a collection of awesome body pillows featured at the Ontario Science Centre this past year. As Wray describes some of the influences in her work,
“I’m really interested in the social implications of biotechnology, as genes are ever increasingly becoming a raw resource for more than just scientists to build things with. I’m interested in the never ending cultural shifts we endure and promote regarding the ways we construct the natural and technological worlds around us. For example, what does it mean to be a biohacker in our society, should people care about the implications of their work, or is their impact likely not much more than hot air? Also, what does it mean when you create organic life through inorganic means. Is that still Life with a capital “L” as we usually describe it?”
To see more of Wray’s work, click here.
Within Christopher Gideon there is a combination of artist, graphic designer and architect. All of these influences are evident in the style of his artworks, but it is the meaning behind them that we should focus on. As Gideon describes the themes within his works, he discusses the sense fear always present in our culture.
“My body of work is an ongoing collection of exorcisms, casting out the fears, icons, and suppressed visions implanted by American Culture; often expressed in imagery that is as much satirical as it is socially relevant. My message tiptoes between cautionary metaphor and paranoid confession. Observations of America’s instability beckon a probing look into man’s blind faith in everything. God… technology… ourselves. I expose these topics through a world of subversion. In my domain, symbols of America are defeated through self-deprecation.”
As one looks at his works the many layers shine through. Technology mixes with anatomy as arms become wires and planes become veins. Overall, Gideon’s work focuses on our cyborg selves, and in his exaggeration he reveals truths about our lives. For more of his work, click here.