An Enormous ‘E.coli’ Floats Through the National Museum of Scotland at 5 Million Times Its Actual Size
In the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, an enormous single-cell organism floats among the Victorian iron colonnades of the cavernous Grand Gallery. Bristol-based multidisciplinary artist Luke Jerram often explores the nature of scale and perception in his pieces (previously), and the latest installation of his inflatable sculpture “E.coli,” which has been displayed in locations around the U.K., spans 90 feet, representing the bacterium at 5 million times its actual size. (If humans were to scale up just as enormously, they would be about 5.5 miles tall!)
Escherichia coli (known as E.coli) is a group of mostly beneficial bacteria that live in the intestines of animals and humans. Some types can occasionally cause severe illness, usually transmitted on food. Jerram’s sculpture prompts visitors to re-examine their relationship with “germs,” elevating and celebrating the importance of bacteria for both health and science.
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The key to a healthy heart is a diet full of fiber, and Emmi Khan is ensuring her heart—and lungs and brain—don’t miss out. The Cardiff-based artist embroiders anatomically accurate organs and systems, from a multicolored double helix to a profile view of facial vessels. The artist often weaves in floral and natural elements, bolstering the connection between beauty, anatomy, and the environment.
Khan tells Colossal she began the craft while studying biomedical sciences and has continued creating throughout her graduate study in medicine. The further she delves into her education, the more precise her brightly colored stitches become. The artist says allowing science and art to converge is natural, and she compares the two as “different approaches towards observing, processing and presenting the world around us.”
Science looks to understand the world in an objective and empirical manner, often stumbling upon beauty along the way, and presents it intellectually. Art takes the world and lets the human imagination run wild with it, presenting a product of feeling and often beauty with this. I wouldn’t say they are one and the same thing, but they do go hand in hand with respect to the goals they set out to achieve.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.