COMMISSION: ANU Research School of Biology 2017

In 2016 I was approached by the team at the Borevitz lab in the ANU Research School of Biology.  They are scientists who specialise in plant genomics and high end imaging and they needed some cutting edge art on the walls in their facility to reflect their research. They had seen my mirror work, Vitual Life, and totally understood the conceptual underpinning of the work, particularly the self-reflective quality of the material as being important to how they perceive plants as being intrinsic to life, and their concerns for the future viability of agriculture and the natural environment.  

First we arranged to have some of their plant samples stained, such as wheat and arabidopsis, and had them imaged with 3D Micro CT at the ANU CT-Lab.  I then worked to create images by rendering the volumetric data in Drishti. It was important working closely with the scientists in order to understand what they saw in the data and how they perceived the images to be important to their research. Its always amazing to work this way as 3D Micro CT has always reveals things in a way you just can't see in other methods of microscopy.  We settled on some stunning images of wheat ears which are the grain bearing tip of the plant, and focused in the kernels inside. I had the resulting images printed on mirrored panels at the Ink Jet Print Facility at the ANU School of Art & Design. Installed in the narrow space, the panels successfully mirror the activities within the glass-lined labs. 

The Borevitz lab plays a key role in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (PEB), a cutting edge research centre focused on better understanding the way in which plants interconvert forms of chemical energy in response to environmental change. PEB’s vision is to enhance plant energy efficiency by simultaneously optimising energy capture, conversion and use in changing environments to improve the sustainable productivity of plants. The Atkin, Borevitz and Pogson labs also collaborate in an International Wheat Yield Partnership Grant to improving yield in wheat by optimising energy use efficiency.