Erica Seccombe, Christmas Beetle, (front) and Christmas Beetle, (back), 2018, two panels, 123 x 110 cm, Mirrored composite board.
Dust: an exhibition about insects, collections and care, Woodford Academy, curated by Jacqueline Spedding, Great Western Highway Woodford, NSW, Australia, 20 Oct - 17 Nov 2018
Selected Finalist, 40th Alice Art Prize, Araluen Art Centre, 2018
Imag(in)ing, curated by Jane Theau, Ewart Art Gallery, Sydney, 2018
These two works provide a unique perspective of the iconic Australian Christmas Beetle (Anoplognathus). They are my interpretation of a museum specimen that has been scanned with (3D) micro-X-ray Computed Tomography (Micro-CT). The body of the original specimen has been skewered with a pin which, in the scanning process, creates a void in the virtual data because the X-rays do not pass through the solid metal. I have processed the raw three-dimensional dataset and then visualised it in Drishti, an open source volumetric exploration software developed at the ANU. Drishti allows me to image the virtual beetle in exquisite detail, revealing both the external and inner structures through transparency and colour. I have then printed it onto a mirrored surface to enhance the transparency of the work and create a self-reflective moment, where we and the world around us is observed through the body of the beetle. While seemingly playful, this work seriously examines issues of visualisation, scale, replication and simulation of the natural world, and explores scientific interpretations of knowledge.
The raw volumetric data of the beetle is courtesy of Professor Tim Senden, Director of the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Australian National University (ANU). The original beetle specimen is held in the collection of the Australian Museum, Sydney. The volumetric data was scanned at the ANU CT-Lab, and visualised at VizLab, the National Computation Infrastructure, NCI. The panels were printed at the Inkjet Print Facility at the ANU School of Art & Design.