Mary Courtney, Artist in Residence in the Chemistry Department at Warwick University, invites you to give your creative muscles a workout – and come up with captions for these rarely seen microscopic images of the world beyond ordinary sight.
The captions will be combined with images of the chemical miniscule, in a short film, “Planet Biscuit – Into the Micronosphere”, which will be out on YouTube in December and screened at the University of Warwick in the autumn. We do hope that responses from Outside In can be part of this.
The images here are just some I’ve been collecting from researchers in the Chemistry Department over these past few months, as part of a project, “Verse Reaction”, that is looking at Chemistry as Art. Microscopic images, from Paracetamol and Nickel, to kidney stones and dirt on diamond, things that I thought I knew, are transformed into the unfamiliar strange at the level of the very tiny. They are asking to be named. To be called something beyond their official chemical designation. Can your imagination help?
Is the Paracetamol crystal here a beautiful glowing ingot, a misty window, or a portal into the unknown? …. there is nothing in its microscopic shape that suggests the ordinary boring white tablet. What is it you see?
As well as being unsettling, chemistry images at this level offer the chance to make things up. Our brains can’t help but make suggestions, maybe hint at stories, as we try to make meaning out of something we’ve never seen. What on earth is it?
Can you take some time to share your thoughts – and give a caption title to some or all of these images? Any contributors who wish to be named will of course be named in the credits. Let us know. We’re looking forward to seeing what you see!
The Leverhulme Trust funded project “Verse Reaction” is a Collaboration between Mary Courtney and Chemistry Professor Patrick Unwin from the Chemistry Department at Warwick University. The Film “Planet Biscuit – Into the Micronosphere” will be made in collaboration with Laurence Campbell.