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The Glass Veil: Seven Adventures in Wonderland


Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach

In this collaborative work between artist and theorist Suzanne Anker and art historian Sabine Flach, the study of image production unveils the reality of pictures beyond their function as mere representations of the world. The visuals range from firsthand accounts of specimen collections in historical medical museums, to scientific research laboratories, to studies of plant propagation, among other themes concerning life forms and Bio Art. Focusing on systems of artistic knowledge, the authors demonstrate how context, scale and framing devices alter meaning in pictorial systems. Somatic responses, classification networks and image banks are explored as they relate to intersections in visual art and the biological sciences.
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Dialogue III: Origins and Futures / Stem Cells: Suzanne Anker & Sabine Flach


Figure 38. Suzanne Anker, Buddha Baby, from Origins and Futures, 2005 (detail). Rapid prototype sculpture of plaster and resin, stainless steel, pyrite minerals. 96 x 96 in (244 x 244 cm). Installation view of Golden Boy at Universal Concepts Unlimited, New York City. Photograph by D. James Dee. ← 106 | 107 → ← 107 | 108 → ← 108 | 109 →


Sabine Flach: What relationship do you think exists between the biological sciences and the physical ones? During the 20th century, physics in particular, was the reigning paradigmatic science. In the 21st century, it is biology. How do you account for that shift?

Suzanne Anker: During the 20th century, biology was considered a “soft” science since it did not conform in exact ways to the underlying mathematical absolutism of space and time, gravity, relativity theory and the like. However, metaphors inherent in the physical sciences dominated the first half of the 20th century as in the art movements of Impressionism, Cubism, and Futurism, among others. These artistic developments incorporated uncertainty and flux influencing our perception and understanding of the physical world. Furthermore, highlighted by the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895, an invisible interior world was visualized for the first time, as this imaging device could render the body transparent.

With Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, the image of the iconic atom was displaced by the double helix. Furthermore it was...

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