The Art of Science: Courage Unmasked

Courage Unmasked, an art exhibit at the Katzen Art Center in Washington, DC, consists of 59 sculptures incorporating radiation masks previously worn by head and neck cancer patients.  Each radiation mask, made of plastic mesh, is heated and fitted individually to the patient prior to treatment so the head and neck can remain perfectly still, allowing the radiation to be precisely directed and avoid damage to healthy tissue.  Not surprisingly, many patients who have used these masks never want to see them again. “Some people run over them with cars,” noted artist Jessica Beels, one of the organizers of the exhibit.  But some donated theirs to be turned into works of art, which in turn will be auctioned off to support other cancer patients. Continue reading “The Art of Science: Courage Unmasked”

The Art of Science: Mika Aoki

Mika Aoki is a Japanese artist working mainly in glass. Her work, which features crystal-clear groupings of spore- and cell-like objects, treads a line between science and fantasy. Of this piece, Syringe, from 2009, Aoki says, “I got this theme from the idea of a sperm bank. Sperm donations are classified according to educational background or appearance. Great expectations are entrusted to microscopic life which can be sucked up by syringes. From this point of view, I notice that my personality is breathing within each cell of my body.” (source)

A viewer who didn’t know Aoki’s intent might see other possibilities in this piece, however – perhaps the specter of hospital-acquired infections or the idea behind vaccinations, of injecting ourselves with viruses to protect ourselves from them.

You can see more of Mika Aoki’s work at her website.