Increasingly sophisticated methods are used today to explore the world of the microscopic. Images that visualize viruses, bacteria, and other microscopic (or ephemeral, such as anything that can only be portrayed through data) are often utilized as a spectacular and aesthetically attractive background that marvel and often terrifies us.
On the one hand, the aesthetics and location of scientific visualization in popular science magazines and science journals reproduce traditional assumptions regarding the dangers hiding behind the hidden world of the invisible, and reveal the urge to constrain, regulate and control these visual expressions to serve a number of agendas. In fact, these images seem to support and tiredly repeat old ideas of microscopic entities as spectacle, or as aliens, an attitude that reminds us of the way foreign politics would treat the “immigrant alien” or the “colonial other.”
On the other hand, this inclination is constantly ousted by a drive towards new ways of seeing, representing, and challenging older ideas of looking and the subjugation of the unknown that incorporate more holistic and innovative concepts into the images. This project focuses on visual expressions disseminated by popular culture and the arts in order to emphasize these less noticeable aspects, arguing that a sustained analysis of visuals can not only expose the marginalization of visual expressions, but also challenge and contrast unquestioned assumptions about the conception of seeing.
My point here is that these myriads representations, experimentations, and aesthetic explorations may constitute a productive force that reflects, and at the same time resists, conceptual and visual control over visualization, as well as traditional notions of looking. Then, my questions are:
- How is the variety that characterizes the scientific visualization and representation of invisible and microscopic entities challenging traditional assumptions?
- How is the intervention of the artist and the myriads of companies dedicated to the improvement of visualization transforming conceptions of visualization and triggering molecular, though gradual changes that in the long run will transform the way in which we see the object of visualization?