Reflection of the Anatomy Course

Recently, my fellow peers from across UAL and I participated in the Kings College anatomy course. This was an unique opportunity to talk to professionals in the medical industry, while learning a range of techniques that are used in medical art.

Being at Kings college allowed artists to view a diverse range of specimens and engage with a more hands on approach. This was a wonderful experience to be able to study the textures and details of the human body as well as identifying their abnormalities. The course leader Eleanor Crook, historically a lecturer at UAL Central Saint Martins, now specialises primarily in wax sculptures has been a leading tutor at Kings College for over a decade. We learnt the key components of the body and how they work while also understanding the historical context of medical art and key artists that challenged the practice.

As the course progressed, we moved away from examining jarred specimens to drawing cadavers (dead bodies) in the dissecting laboratory. This enabled me to closely study the internal features of the human body; understanding why medical art is so necessary for the present day. Talking to Eleanor Crook allowed me to address peoples concerns of balancing art and science whilst understanding how she overcame these limitations that arose in the medical art practice. One of the main highlights of the course was experimenting with wax. Layering this different medium onto a plaster cast skull was more engaging than the drawing aspect of the course. It enabled us to learn the different names and functions of the facial muscles, whilst getting stuck in.

The anatomy course was a unique experience which has extended my knowledge of human development in my own practice. Overall, I feel that any artists wanting to challenge the notion of art and science should participate in the course.

Below you will see art works drawn by me and and two fellow artist in 4D2PS

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Making a Zine

To document the Scout workshops, we decided to make two zines displaying these different outcomes. One consisted of microscopic images taken by the children with a hand held microscope, the other containing printed microscopic images of snake skin manipulated with the use of various media. The zines are colourful and playful in-keeping with the our intention to make art and science accessible to children. This also represents our attempt to understand how they were able to engage with these disciplines.

Out of hundreds of microscopic photos, we narrowed them down to the images that produced the biggest reactions and interest from the Scout kids. Although with a distorted quality, we were still able to discern what some of the images were. Similar to our experience with the Hunterian Museum and the Anatomy Course, it was amusing to be subjected to their addiction to morbid imagery (finger cut) because they piloted the hand-held microscope.

By talking to Dr Darren Nesbeth, making a zine seems only natural as even the best scientists document their findings in publications. In regards to this project, we have concluded that the children are as important to this project, so deserve a momento of the experience – which hopefully we will be providing in the coming weeks.

Zine of the microscopic snakeskin colouring-in

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Zine of microscopic pictures;

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Scouts Workshop

In preparation for Scouts, we applied the knowledge and experience we had gained from our previous 4D2PS workshops.  We decided to set up four stations for the children to be involved in, taking into account the potential Scout group size. We specifically tailored them to the children, making sure they were more interactive, enjoyable and educational. We really enjoyed the opportunity to engage with them and their enthusiasm.

Station 1 – Colouring-in of microscopic images of snake skin.

The children seemed to enjoy the chance of being able to use different media whilst working out the contents of the image. They could draw on their own past experiences to better understand what the microscopic photo could be and how it could be altered in different ways, for example, how snake skin could be seen as crocodile skin. Known in scientific terms as ‘Discovery Learning’, a theory that suggests that the act of discovery is brought upon by combining past experiences and knowledge. Looking back, this workshop was a successful alternative to the other busy stations, on which the children were so intent on using. In the end, the finished images were able to tesselate and form our own enlarged snake, shown by our zine front cover.

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Station 2 – Hand held microscope connected to a projector.

There was a lot of excitement around playing with the microscopes. The most interest lay in looking at their skin (fingers, hands, faces), clothing and hair. (See zine blog post for more information)

Making a Zine

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Station 3 – A more powerful microscope and fruit leather.

The children were intrigued by the process and outcome of the fruit leather, as it was something they had never seen before. The fact that it was made out of dehydrated kiwi fruit meant that the internal structure of the kiwi was on show allowing the children to reflect on what they had already seen using the other microscopes. This workshop was only aimed at the older children (the Scouts) due to its potential to tear.

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Ultimately we believe our workshop has been a success as the children expressed enjoyment over the activities we set up for them. Our workshop was later posted on the Scouts Facebook page and other Scout leaders have been in contact with us to ask about the different activities for their own Scouts evenings.

This demonstrated how even though we put on different workshops within the group, based on our research and idiosyncratic talents, reflecting back it showcased how this first collaboration of using a microscope outside the Art college context was the best. Use the link below to see our first workshop together:

Microscope images… Taking it one step further

Our intention is now to document these workshops in the form of a published zine. We would like to keep the integrity of the experience the children had as original as possible.

Marbling Textures

In this workshop we attempted to illustrate a range of natural textures for example wood, plants, and rocks that were photographed around Kew Gardens. The main objective for this workshop was to see how the natural chemical reactions of the marbling  ink would react with the manipulation of the artist. This was to further understand how to convey art and science; the workshop focused on an area of texture in each given photo whilst relinquishing control of the medium. In turn, this created a body of work that became sporadic and unpredictable to imitate the characteristics of the textures.

The main inspiration for this workshop derived from the teachings of Wabi Sabi, you can find out more here!!

http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/wabi-sabi

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This is a development of the microscope workshop 4D2PS hosted. As shown in the images below, I have layered up the different patterns and compositions produced by this process, using both Marbling and Indian ink. The tiers of canvas have been used to reflect and engage with the features of snake skin, first discovered at the beginning of this project.

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These were the images that were given out to members of 4D2PS to begin the workshop.