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Curious – Looking at Microscopy through Craft and Technology

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As an artist, designer and arts educator Susanna Edwards has had a long-standing interest in how technological advancements have affected the way creative practitioners produce work. Through her artistic practice and research, Edwards explores the ways that shifts in technology have affected art and design practice. Six years ago Edwards happened upon a collection of 19th century biological microscopic slides in a charity shop. Intrigued by the creativity and dexterity involved in making these delicate objects, she began to research the history of microscopy, in particular its development from craft to digital. Her investigations revealed the changing techniques for creating, viewing and documenting microscopic slides, and the impact of the technological and digital revolution on the practice of microscopy. Out of these investigations came the idea for the project Curious: Focusing on microscopy as a paradigm to examine technological (and thus visual) developments, the project documents the found microscopic slides photographically using microscopes from 1750 to now, loaned by the Science Museum, London. The project demonstrates, through a series of photographic based art works, the way developments in technology have augmented shifts in the visual world. It examines the advantages of these shifts to science, and conversely the problems encountered by art and design of technology purging craft based practices. Curious involved a residency working with the Science Museum’s microscope collection. It has been sponsored by the Arts Council London, The Gulbenkian Foundation, UCCA Farnham and London Metropolitan University. This is a work in progress and will be exhibited in full, early 2010 at the Huntarian Museum London. For more information about the work please contact Susanna Edwards

This talk is part of the Scientific Images Discussion Group series.

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