Graphic Sculpture

Sub specie cellulae - 'under the perspective of a cell'

Medawar commented that ‘Biologists work very close to the frontier between bewilderment and understanding’.

The work done by scientists at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) shows the truth of this observation in every sense.

The artists wanted to reflect the richness and wonder of the work at CRM as well as the co-operative nature of science and how it is communicated. The Scottish Enlightenment had a social dimension, the freedom to present ideas in the public domain, a tradition continued by the CRM.

The title of the work, hanging from the ceiling in the reception area in the SCRM building, is couched in the universal language of science. The form was distilled from the astounding images produced by CRM scientists. The shape of the piece is defined by such images, in the way a membrane defines a cell. These photographic images are supported by the dynamic and sculptural cytoskeleton that envelops the pivotal, glowing nucleus.

Specie gives rise to the term species in science but it also has a poetic usage. In poetry it is often used when describing a beautiful form. The cell is the basis of all we consider alive; the building blocks of all organisms. Specie carries with it the idea that this beauty is truth, truth beauty as Keats’ puts it.

Such ideas allow us to think of cells as touching every part of our lives, seen from within and from outside.

A YouTube video about the installation can be viewed here.