Infectious Beauty…
Glass Sculptures of Viruses

My 3 year old is getting to the age where she wants explanations – about life, about earth, about the universe. I told her that each human being is its own universe, that little life lives inside us and outside of us, off of us and with us. Surprisingly, she wasn’t grossed out, but she is even more curious about the tiny beings that live in her, will they hurt her, or be nice to her, what do they look like and why she can’t see them? What we see is the symptom of their presence, like the clearcuts you can view from the Space Station. Our clearcuts are the pox that erupt on our skin, the paling of our countenance, the mucous and vomit that spew from our orifices. These ugly things are caused by creatures of surprising beauty, translucent microbes that dance through our blood stream wreaking havoc on our cells with their tentacles and nodes. UK artist Luke Jerram molded these microscopic beings in glass for his series “Glass Microbiology,” so we can see their elegant and delicate design. He worked closely with scientists to create the most accurate models of deadly viruses like HIV/AIDS, smallpox, Swine Flu and E. coli. The result is sculpture that is shocking in its loveliness, laying waste to the very human idea that good things come in beautiful packages. In the case of viruses, death comes cloaked in crystalline perfection, making us the ugly ones as they thrive. What’s interesting is that their beauty can invoke our respect, even if we are their prey; they are life forms with a will to survive and immaculate design. Check out a short video about Jerram’s work and photos of some of the pieces from “Glass Microbiology.” 

UNTITLED FUTURE MUTATION

untitledfuturemutation1wide

T4 BACTERIOPHAGE VIRUS

t4phage_widescreen

SMALLPOX

Smallpox1

SWINE FLU

onblack2

HIV

hivseries2

E.COLI

barc

HIV (LARGE)

Large_HIV

EBOLA

Ebola

ADENOVIRUS

Adenovirus1

SALMONELLA

Salmonella

MALARIA

Malaria-artworks

 

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The Author

Meghan

Meghan

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation webzine and clothing.

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