Visualizing Viruses Through Art
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When you think of viruses visually, how do you imagine them to be aesthetically? Made to contemplate the global impact of each disease, the artworks by Luke Jerram, a UK based artist were created as alternative representations of viruses to the artificially colored imagery we receive through the media. In fact, viruses have no color as they are smaller than the wavelength of light.

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Visualizing Viruses Through Art - as part of the series on arts by GeoBeats. When you think of viruses visually, how do you imagine them to be aesthetically? Made to contemplate the global impact of each disease, the artworks by Luke Jerram, a UK based artist were created as alternative representations of viruses to the artificially colored imagery we receive through the media. In fact, viruses have no color as they are smaller than the wavelength of light. By extracting the color from the imagery and creating jewel like beautiful sculptures in glass, a complex tension has arisen between the artworks’ beauty and what they represent. His transparent and colourless glassworks consider how the artificial colouring of scientific microbiological imagery, affects our understanding of these phenomena. See these examples of HIV imagery. 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? The sculptures are designed in consultation with virologists from the University of Bristol, using a combination of different scientific photographs and models.