Monday, July 31, 2006

Images, science, art

I think I've written before about science images as art. Sometimes I think that curators of certain of these collections get too involved in the gee-that's-nice reflex, rather than reflecting on whether the image communicates something to do with the research as a result of its visual qualities, or despite them. I've been dissapointed by some such UCL competitions before. Not because of the lack of ingenuity of the image-makers, but because of a lack of overall definition of the goal of a successful research image that also is art. To my mind, there is a sweet spot where the two qualities support each other.

Apropos of nothing really (I saw it here), here's another striking collection, supported by the Wellcome Trust. This particular image is a nettle leaf. It looks dramatic, certainly, but that quality lets you understand how the thing works. Exactly the sort of art/science symbiosis I have in mind.

Perhaps because it's taking a narrower sample of work as a base (medical/biological microscopy), the criteria seem to be tighter, and the whole exhibition more satisfactory as a result.

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