Week 4: Technology and Medicine/Jasmine Huynh

I really liked this week’s lecture topics and guest speakers because it hit an area very close to home for me. I am currently a biology major who aspires to one day work in the medical field, so it was very interesting to see the different types of art that arose from medicine. The art spanned from digital photographs composed of medical instruments to¬† movies based on human reconstruction.

During our lectures, I saw several mentions made about the “Body Worlds” exhibits. I have not personally attended one of these exhibits, but I would love to. I find them particularly interesting because I also work in a research lab. In our lab, we use a process called “Tissue Dehydration” to preserve tissue samples so that we can look at them later under a microscope. We preserve the tissues (lung tissue of mice, in our particular lab) by soaking them in different concentrations of ethanol until all the water is removed from them. The research doctor that I work with in the lab told me that the same steps we use for tissue preservation are used to create the “Body World” Exhibits. It was really cool to see a common denominator between the different subjects that I study.

Inspired by the lectures, I searched for some other pieces of artwork that focused on the human body. I found an artist by the name of Wenda Gu. He produces artwork using strands of hair–the hair is taken from free haircuts that are given to the general public. He uses whatever type of hair is available to him, be it straight, wavy, curly, brown, black or blonde. Below are samples of his work:

http://www.lifeinthefastlane.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/wenda_gu_hair_1_sfw.jpg

In the picture above, the artist was trying to create a symbol of unification between all the different nations, represented by the different colors.

Here is the famous piece that he did for a display at Dartmouth University:

I thought it was really amazing how he could build something so elaborate using something that we all possess. Aside from styling our hair, we hardly think about it. After reading several interview transcripts, I learned that Wenda Gu is very passionate about the topic of unifying the nations of the world through the common medium of hair. A quote from a Dartmouth interview states that Wenda Gu’s work stems from “his dream that through his art he might unite humanity and encourage international understanding.”

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