In trying to trace neuron signaling and development, sacrifices must be made in order to advance research. "Lab Exercise #6" reminds us of the bioethics of it all.
“Ever since I was very young, I’ve had the need to create,” she says, looking out the window of her car to the vast Californian landscape. Oakland-based artist Diane Heron has always seen the interconnectedness of art, life, and well-being. Recently, Diane was tested and diagnosed as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), she says suddenly her calling as an artist, makes sense in so many ways.
We’re so intimately dependent on bacteria, and the way that these beings inside of us exist can determine our health and hence our mind. You hear so much about the gut microbiome nowadays — people are beginning to pay more attention to eating fermented foods and it’s completely reasonable - fermentation is one of our most ancient and anthropologically important processes that has allowed us harness bacterial pre-digestion to gather nutrients from from vegetation and meats.
We interviewed Elizabeth Jameson, an artist who uses her art as a way to reclaim her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis from the scientific community, and Anthony Norcia, Ph.D, a Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford, about the intersection of art and neuroscience that appears in three of Jameson’s vibrant paintings.
The head of a rotting cow carcass lies pensively on the floor of an art museum exhibit, enclosed by a large glass casing. Despite the repulsive maggots and flies buzzing around its head, the cow fascinated Ricky Cordova (Bioengineering ‘18).
“It’s beautiful,” he said. “By making the mental leap to label something differently, [the artist] showed that something so commonplace can be a powerful symbol of the beauty of death … of the metamorphosis of materials after life leaves it.”
Gail Wight is an American artist whose work combines art with biology, neurology and technology. Her work explores the impact of life sciences on the human being. She is a professor in Art Practice and has been teaching art at Stanford since 2003.