PHO705: Symposium – Good Picture 2019 “Imaging Revealed”

Note concerning project naming:

The name Motherline is introduced into blog usage below as it is now being adopted. Motherline refers to the photography of healing wounds and the resultant abstract glow images from a digital post method.

Imaging Science

Long-awaited, the Symposium on imaging science took place at the University of Westminster. on Saturday 14 December 2019.

The opportunity existed to be introduced and meet people from the scientific and medical community. A number of those present were from the Kodak or Ilford companies and from the Universities or other professional bodies.

Imaging science participants were generous in giving their time to listen to the Motherline image glow and the post-processing techniques used.

Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther
Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther

A processed image was created from a UV image portrait captured after the Symposium talk Imaging the Skin – UV, visible light and IR

As preparation for attending the conference, research was conducted into image compression and decompression, as the techniques used in enhancing glow in Motherline photographs.

It became possible to describe to a medical forensic imaging expert the art interpretations of glow in healing and in return obtain vital and conclusive feedback.

A detailed discussion was had on the processing steps for potential infrared detection. The wavelengths for emanations from healing wounds at human body temperature are very long wavelength, well beyond consumer camera detection capability. The conclusion was that there will be no detection of IR emanation.

Where IR is received by a smartphone camera, in the example of the domestic remote control, the wavelength is short enough to be detected depending on the exact optics of a specific camera, lens and bayesian filter.

Blood Supply |Bacterial Fluorescence

However, in the project photography there is a glow present, so where does it come from? A general news article explains (Hrala, 2016).

Foremost is the presence of blood supply around a healing wound.

Potentially there is fluorescence present. Bacteria gather in the region of a healing wound. When excited by an external light source a glow will appear in the visible spectrum. A Japanese research paper examines this in detail (Koboyashi, 2009)

Detection used a cooled CCD in conditions of complete darkness. With a prosumer camera, there is no detection of direct bodily emanation from a healing wound. Rather than emanation, an external light source excites the bacteria and produces fluorescence in the visible light spectrum.

Both of these effects are the likely cause of the glow that appears in the photo project images.

Bibliography

Hrala, J. (2016) You Can’t See It, But Humans Actually Glow With Our Own Form of Bioluminescencescience alert. Available at: https://www.sciencealert.com/you-can-t-see-it-but-humans-actually-glow-in-visible-light.

Koboyashi, M., Daisuke, K. and Okamura, H. (2009) Imaging of Ultraweak Spontaneous Photon Emission from Human Body Displaying Diurnal RhythmPLOS | ONE. Available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0006256.

PHO705: Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

Project development: rhymes, art and naming of the photo project.

Oxford definition.

This post is an extension of the Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art (McNamee, 2019) feature in the blog post, PHO705: Research Artsci, Communicating Science Visually, Computational Biology and a new Avant-Garde

The intention is to deliver something art-based (rhyme or graphic text or image titles) over the upcoming period between terms as noted in the Final Proposal. An intention is to experiment to discover if contextualisation and visual language can be built with Recombinant Rhymes or DNA Art.

The idea is to use imagination in selecting words like TELEOLOGICAL that contain DNA base letters ACGT and combine them for effect, perhaps making a video with a reading of a rhyme. Words are intended to be selected for their connection to narratives of the project.

Select from the following ACGT words for some connected meaning:

Base-words-ACGT

Examples:

  • Advocating 
  • Fracturing conflagrations
  • Countervailing 
  • Lethargic contagiousness

Interestingly, the validated list contains the terms Abstracting and Photographic.

Project naming

In short, “Motherline” is the name presently chosen. This is less politically charged than the earlier proposed project name “Matriarchy”.

Matriarchy like patriarchy has political overtones, so is not so attuned to the themes of the work.

Motherline is derived here from the post PHO705: Visual Language of DNA Testing and the terms:

  • Family Ancestry (autosomal DNA)
  • Motherline Ancestry (mtDNA)
  • Fatherline Ancestry (Y-DNA)

Bibliography

McNamee, A. (2019) ‘Art of Now Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art’. A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002rkb

PHO705: Group Guest Critique 10 Dec 2019

Theme sets

Themes occur in several sets subdivided. First, are the now consistent outputs of the work, and second, the themes of visual narrative explored and third the set of the subject matter placed before the camera.

In turn, we have:

Out of abstraction, the theme set subdivided into

  • place as landscape/seascape/mountains of heritage and theatre of war;
  • ghosts ever more recurring;
  • depictions of inner/outer space.

Out of the physical and psychoanalytical, the theme sets are around language/communication and intent:

  • science mitochondrial DNA,
  • war,
  • the phenomenological – the weird/eerie/uncanny

Examples of the above can be found in this portfolio:

Portfolio by Michael Turner

There is the theme set of the subject and photography:

  • healing wounds,
  • museum (military and medicine),
  • family archive,
  • video (gaming and broadcast)
  • Generative art.

Examples of some of the above are also in this portfolio.

Portfolio by Michael Turner

In retrospect, this presents the analytical. To think in deconstructivist terms as in Derrida, it would make sense to home in on that which conveys the main feelings. There again Art Science (Artsci) as described by Arthur Millar brings scientific method back into scope. The latter demands more resolution by the artist. Millar points to the history of the avant-garde. The art world and gallery system had rejected impressionism and the likes of Picasso as surrealist. Artists then built alliances later their work being more established it became more widely accepted. Millar might argue the case for art-science as the new avant-garde.

In the case of accepting Millar, then the project proceeds as

Family Constellations

Family Constellations have allowed freedom from entanglement with ancestors and their narratives of loss in a war.

FMP Experimental

View the following as experimental imagery that is work in progress. This is not the end product of publishable standard at this early point.

PHO705: Week 9 Reflection

Bases and Ghost by Michael Turner

Position and Intent

The work is intended to be positioned within Modernism PHO705: Modernism. As abstract it may fit into the Art-Science avant-garde as a branch of Modernism.

The implementation is still open at an early stage. Developments in one direction are towards overlapping archive ancestry images of motherline and mtDNA glow images.

Motherline – Glow by Michael Turner

This is in the direction of Susan Hiller Aura and Falmouth painter Jake Wood Evans. PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans

To go ahead, work needs to be resolved. As these firm, vestiges are present in other approaches.

War imagery, either from Museum exhibits or from video archives footage. There is the style of Natalia Goncherova with angels and flying machines compressed into the frame in a very claustrophobic way (as in her lithographs).

Science, as molecular biology, animation and Generative Art.

Further influences begin with Albert Steiglitz and images similar to cloud formations. This is closest to my type of work of any of the above approaches.

by Steiglitz

There persists influence from Picasso, in breaking bounds then Rachel Howard in terms of the hidden brush of gravity abstract style.

Thoughts about Resolution

More wayward approaches need to be set aside where project intent risks being diluted i.e avoid any negative impact.

The strong influence going into the Final Major Project FMP has been to resolve the visual language to make the abstract accessible to the viewer. This was achieved in a summer exhibition although the martial narrative need not be enforced was a consideration.

Having just stated that though, the war theme is necessary otherwise we lose the linkage and orphan the themes of place foreign and theme of ghosts recurrent.

PHO705: Week 12 Reflection

The following were covered in Week 12/;

PHO705: Symposium – Good Picture 2019 “Imaging Revealed”

The Symposium was long-awaited (August – December), and in terms of the ‘How’ element of the major project Motherline. The impact of ancestral identification was tested in discussion with imaging science professionals. Fortunately, the basis of the project once more stands when the premise is tested against science.

The input received on the methodology of making acted as a precursor for ramping up image creation which during the break has now taken off.

PHO705: Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

Recombinant rhymes and DNA Art is approached as supporting art either in creating Exhibition context or as part of a book, or indeed both.

The scope was set as words containing DNA base letters ACGT from which ‘poetry’ might be created. Originally this was inspired ‘double-strand poetry’ from a BBC Art-Science podcast.

Since the word list (circa 1100 words) was created for DNA using ACGT bases a second and partly overlapping wordlist (circa 500 words) has been created for RNA using its bases ACGU.

The idea would be to create a spoken-word recording and contextualising graphics for exhibition atmosphere and book in turn.

The atmospherics of playing spoken word was experienced at the Tate Modern exhibition of Natalia Goncharova’s work. In one area, viewers were funnelled through a corridor space that linked two functional areas. The corridor had its own smaller-scale works on view. Playing in the background was a recording of a Russian speaker whose voice created a wonderful aesthetic effect.

Example Russian speaker recording from the Tate exhibition:

During the summer exhibition. the atmosphere was created by video (and for a while using audio) and proved effective as a trial.

PHO705: Group Guest Critique 10 Dec 2019

There were two students with our guest so a minimum group size on the day.

The other student went first whose work had already been reviewed amongst the cohort. Comment related to:

  • advice to drop text and focus on visual language.
  • a question about reverting to film process.

The recently named Motherline was reviewed and received reviewer comment. Questions related to clarification and comments were mainly of the checklist variety:

Was the intent exhibition? Yes. The summer exhibition led to a question about the level of comment received. This was recorded already within this blog. The reviewer wished to attend the Easter exhibition as the venue had been decided and dates needed to be pencilled in.

PHO705: Guest Lecture (Publication) – Sarah Davidmann (Uncut)

Sarah is a lecturer at London’s LCC

Here is the lecture. The main photographic project is based on letters between sisters over a hidden relationship that of a secret transgender female Ken married to one of the sisters known as aunt Hazel. All this was at a time when there was no recognition or language to frame identities.

Identity was sympathetically dealt with and Ken becomes K(ay) and her or she.

There is a book “Ken – to be destroyed”. This began as a small personal project but created an unexpected level of interest. The conversation led to working on the project and exhibiting in Liverpool. There were uncertainties from gaps in the texts.

Sarah found more including family photographs. As she worked with the materials this led to working physically in the darkroom as a natural extension of handling physical materials. The working with a family archive was a first for Sarah.

The work is robust having nowadays a universal message of identity. The work presents well as small groups of images and as a book.

The book was a collaboration with Val Williams who helped with the edit that combined family archive material with Sarah’s work. Working collaboratively proved very useful.

Both Sarah and today’s host began their artistic lives as painters.

The personal aspects were seen to be of interest to audiences. There is a universality of family with all the problems family present that viewers can insert themselves into.

Another aspect of the German Jewish family is the next piece of work. It is still, based on family history but now covers the Holocaust. The project is approached from a very personal perspective and in an intimate way. An album carried on the Kindertransport is a material source for this new work.

Final Photo Project

Sarah’s project was allowed to develop and that is important compared to planning exactly how the work should be from the outset.

A point in common is the use of family archive photographs. High-resolution scanning, alternative processing of the images and concentrating on the surface condition are strong elements of Sarah’s work. Obliteration of identity became a step in which aunt was translated into clothing only or into the uncle.

This compares with using the photos for the final photo project which are scanned for smaller size reproduction. The idea was not to overwhelm the abstract images at the core of the project. Recently one image from the archive was layered with an image of mitochondrial glow and connecting thus with an ancestor from the maternal line. This has a key significance.

The history of a family is also common as is the impact of 20th-century war.

Bibliography

Photographs Sarah Davidmann from Falmouth Guest Lecture