Sunday 5 September 2010

a lovely rotifer

and some fruit

more pudding

someone's been eating my porridge

Well not porridge but a pink champagne jelly my friend made.

other people's breakfasts

I got a new toy

Here are some nice algae and a ciliated colony of something... from the Black Wood of Rannoch

painting a tune

Here's Owen playing a painting. It's got some lines on it made with a conductive pen, connected up with croccodile clips to a little amp that he's circuit-bending and from there to a lap-top.

Didn't do very much though, just some boring clicks, I'm sure there's fun to be had in ther but as it stands it's the most boring instrument in the world.

Thursday 17 June 2010

A Decomposition

Liz Tainsh & I have put on a show at art's complex in Edinburgh: our kiddies' workshop has turned into an ongoing collaborative drawing between us and our visitors and artists from the studios there that stray into the gallery space. This bit is a combination of drawing and a projection of a squashed section of strawberry that has begun to fungate in a delicious way...

Tuesday 1 June 2010

The Look of Love

People seem to like these paintings, find them pleasing to look at. I'm glad about that for all sorts of reasons but I'm not sure how consciously I set out to achieve that. Or why it should be so. I'm wondering to what extent it is an effect of the choreography that is set up in the painting, the circles particularly - it has struck me recently that the way they make my eyes travel is very similar to the movements they make when I'm looking at something I like. Hmm.

Monday 5 April 2010

A feeble signal

but a signal nontheless. This is how pictures can get turned back into music, you see. I'm passing a current through drawn lines, and then I'll hand it on to someone who makes music out of electrical signals. (Not that that isn't pretty much what you do in your body, when you look at a thing: here I'm just talking about passing it through the square brain, to see what happens.)
Needs some tweaking as the signals are so weak. Graphite was the only thing that worked. I was very disapointed that my copper powder in gum arabic solution got me nowhere. Apparently the thing is silver powder in an epoxy medium with an addition of carbon black which helps out with the conductivity on account of the buckyballs. Well.

Finding Space

Here's an ugly one. Never mind, I know where
I'm going with this now. I'm building a nanotube space-elevator to go up to space in. Not that cold vacuous place where planets decompose in deterministic tedium, mind you - I'm hoping for something more like Sun Ra's Space.

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Sew: a longer way to go.

Work in progress on 'Henry VIII goes Racialist'.

It's a slow progress: it isn't that I don't think it's a good thing to dress the powerful in silly clothes, or say their bad words back in silly voices... (Ha! I'll show you not to go around implementing racist immigration policies Jack Straw! I'll dress you up in frilly pantaloons and give you a beaded codpiece - that'll learn you!")

Just that if I'm going around claiming that dehumanising any of us dehumanises the rest of us, well then I have to be very careful about rehumanising my barbie world. And I'm not happy with my script yet.

But I am happy with my lovely costumes:

Monday 22 March 2010

A Fuller Picture

Here's carbon 86, hanging about with a sunken shopping trolley at the bottom of the Waters of Leith.
Made with pyMOL again, with thanks to TCC LAB for the fullerene coordinates.

These buckyballs are of special interest today as I believe they can be found in my pigment of the month, Lamp Black.

Monday 8 March 2010

so what are you doing?

(Same molecule, different orientation, "cartoon" view. Same fish. Same caveat: it's not going to tell you anything useful.)

What I am doing is looking at ways of picturing as ways of combining ways of visualising. (It's taken me 5 years to work out how to say that - funny, isn't it, the work that has to go in to arriving at a point of being able to state the bleedin' obvious.)

Trying to get over the traumatic fragmentation of modernism, and around the horrid postmodernist fashion of slapping things together willy-nilly in a way that doesn't make sense. To present a unified view, that enfolds various viewpoints. And one that is a bit more satisfying than "well it's all connected really, innit."

Because it does all make plenty sense. ( This proto-oncogene tyrosine-protein kinase receptor is an integral part of this fish, the fish an integral part of this pond, the pond an integral part of my environment, my environment an integral part of yours. Statin' the bleedin' obvious again.)

Obviously if these pictures are going to make proper sense we'll need a few clues about exactly how, and where, and when these integrations probably occur. But that's all for later, all I'm doing now is playing with the integrity of the picture itself.

Do category errors lead to class wars?

More PyMOL fun.

Nobody should think for a minute that this is Science or makes any sense at all, it's a molecule chosen at random with a random bit of painting, it doesn't have any useful meaning at all except in a "well it's all connected really innit" way and "ah, ain't it pretty'. It's probably not even Art.

I'm loving PyMOL for its delightful combination of information and explanation - representation and diagram mixed together. (The cloud of numbers here is a view of the 'formal charge' on the molecule: which, I believe is problematic in its own right.)

Saturday 6 March 2010

Playing with PyMOL

Today I've been having fun with PyMOL , an open-source based molecular visualization system, which gives nice visual representations of protein-folding.

This is "Antibodies Specifically Targeting a Locally Misfolded Region of Tumor Associated EGFR" plonked on top of one of my paintings, I don't know exactly where I think I'm going with it - but then I very rarely do, sure I'll find out later.

Monday 22 February 2010

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Visceral ignorance

But what do any of us know about the insides of bodies there days? In the olden days every housewife, in common with hunters and pork butchers, would have seen as much in the way of innards as any cadaver-diving surgeon. What is more she would have had a name for every part, and known what was good to eat lightly pan-fried in butter and what was best made into sausages.

An abdomenation

Here's another gem from Govan et al:

"Previous gynaecological treatment is best learnt about from clinical records if obtainable. Gynaecological pathology and terminology are mysterious to most women". (p.68)

"A neurotic patient will employ a colourful imagery..."

That's going on my toumbstone. It's from 'Gynaecology Illustrated' : A.D.T. Govan. C. Hodge, R.Callander, published by Churchill Livingstone 1985. (They are talking about pain and how to do patient consultations.)

Frank Netter also employs a colourful imagery. This is one of mine, you can see I've obviously been influenced.

Unusually for me it's a picture of an actual thing: I'm offering a prize to anyone who can guess what it's supposed to be.

Where there's hair there's fun

We're fond of this conception of tools as things with which we commit actions upon the world. We use paintbrushes to smear a dirty trace our passing onto a blank and unresisting canvas, besmirching its innocence with the slimy seed of our Intentions. Or, if like me, you're a Modern Girl, you might prefer to think of it as doing stigmergy.
But that's not all - yes, a paintbrush is a transmitter, that's plain to see. But it is also a receiver, a big clumsy whisker. We use tools to pick up information about the world which we use in order to work out what to do next. In the case of painting, through the vibrations of the brush we feel the warp of the paper, its humidity, irregularities of surface, stray particles, the viscosity of the paint, and the activity of painting is a process of constant response to this.

Sunday 14 February 2010

Saturday 13 February 2010

slugs on toast

That's a bit of toast in the big circle, it seems that toast is the big delicacy, the soup-du-jour for slugs.

So the point of these isn't the Product (for me; some circles and wobbly lines, for the slugs; some dinner, all of which is very nice to be sure,) but the nature of the interaction. It's not the Action of Man Having Dominion Over Nature, rather an event where Person-organism-Roberts does a thing in a spirit of fun and friendship and curiosity, hoping to influence the behaviour of Person-organism-Slugs, who come along and do their sluggy thing in their own time and in their own way and for their own reasons. And then go away again.

Who knows what the slugs actually think of all this? They obviously enjoyed their dinner - but I'm curious about the slug who spent an incredibly long time going round and round the small circle (pictured here with Person-organism-Spider, who knows what she was doing there?) - whether the slug was enjoying the shape of the circle in the same way as I enjoy riding my bike down the long downhill curve of the road in Holyrood Park? Or was it locked into a horrible sense of infinity? Or was there simply more dinner there, a hungrier slug?

I'd like to dedicate these drawings to the memory of my friend Eileen Tunney's dog Jake, who used to steal bread from their bread bin, take it outside and put it on their grass, then retire to the bottom of the garden to watch - just to watch - the birds come down and feed.

Thursday 11 February 2010

human, pilchard, sunflower, slug, bacteria, fungae, algae.

Jam just got washed away with the snow. Pilchard in sunflower oil is more appetising, apparently.

Monday 8 February 2010

the FAQ

There is only one, always the same one; "How do you get your circles so perfect?"
It's a nice question - what everyone wants to know is whether I have some kind of terrifying virtuosity and do them freehand or if I somehow cheat.
The answer is, I'm just very good at colouring in. I use a pair of compasses and bring the paint up to the lines. It's primary school stuff, done attentively and responsively, and practised over a long time. Each of these lovely circles is just a nice record of ordinary human fine motor skills, rather than a document of some kind of super-humanity conferred by the gods or genetics upon a being that is somehow outside the normal remit of human beingness and doingness. Yes, it's specialised, but I don't think that makes me particularly special.