Accepted Paper:

Portraiture in Cell Imaging  

Author:

Merete Lie (Norwegian Uni of Science and Technology)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will discuss ways in which medical imaging contribute to transforming cells into individual matter attributed personality and potentiality. The approach is to study effects of cultural conventions of western art in science imaging and the paper will analyze cell images in the style of portraiture.

Paper long abstract:

Contemporary medical imaging on a cellular scale is both a result of and a precondition for developments within the life sciences. This is most evident within the field of assisted reproductive technologies, ARTs, where researchers as well as practitioners manipulate cellular material while watching the processes in the microscope. During my research on ARTs, I was fascinated by the aesthetics of science imaging associated to styles within art as well as digital popular culture. Scientists employ digital imaging programs used also by photographers, digital artists and the general public, resulting in a thin line between science imaging and art, popular science, and science fiction. In this paper I will discuss effects of cultural conventions of western art in science imaging and the paper will analyze cell images in the style of portraiture. "The photograph displaces rather than represents the individual. It codifies the person in relation to other frames of reference and other hierarchies of significance." (Clarke 1992). In which ways are cells codified in cell imaging - what are the frames of reference and the hierarchies of significance - and what significance and cultural meanings may the images confer on ideas of what cells are and do within the human body?

Panel T019
Science and Technology through Critical Art Practice