Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow in the Humanities
2011—2012 Forum on Adaptations
The Poetics of Molecular Biological Animation: Hybridizing Art and Fact in the Digital Realm
My project explores contemporary 3-D molecular biological animations, their production and their impact in the public sphere. Such hybrid objects, created through collaboration between animation studios and molecular biologists are part of the history of popular science exhibition, documentary cinema, animation and digital media, as well as biotechnology. It is important to recognize that these animations do not form some sort of objective atlas for use by scientists themselves; these are threshold, transitional objects occupying space in a discursive divide, mediated by aesthetic choices en route to the public of general audiences, students, investors, and policy makers. The trajectories of these animations are emergent and unpredictable as they orient intended audiences in the biomolecular realm and spread as video files on the internet, passed along as objects of curiosity, knowledge, and wonder.