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Bioartist Takes Beautiful Macro Photos of Crystallizing DNA

Biochemist-turned-bioartist Linden Gledhill's latest crystalized DNA prints show the beauty of the proteins that make up every living organism.
May 7, 2015, 11:30pm
Images courtesy the artist

These stunning images aren't stained glass, photographs from the insides of kaleidoscopes, or ephemeral digital art. They're DNA, synthesized, crystallized, and microphotographed by biochemist-turned-bioartist Linden Gledhill, whose work you might recognize from Jon Hopkins' Immunity album, or those magnified photos of butterfly wings that busted the internet open last spring.

Last time we checked in with Gledhill, he was putting his artwork to good use by collaborating with the non-profit Autism Speaks, creative agency BBDO, and Google, for a project called MSSNG, raising money and awareness in an effort to sequence the genomes of 10,000 people with autism and distribute the information to scientists across the globe. Last night we checked in with him at a one night only pop-up show, The MSSNG Lab, as he revealed nine new prints of the 10,000, showcasing them alongside the crystalizing DNA timelapses that premiered in December, a short documentary about the project, and an amazing musical representation of the DNA sequence he had synthesized.


Original music by Human

"The exploration of genomic DNA sequences from 10,000 autistic people enables scientists to correlate changes in DNA sequences to the autism spectrum condition," Gledhill tells The Creators Project. Not only does he believe in the cause, but the work that Autism Speaks does resonates with his artwork on a scientific level: "The images showing the growing edge of the DNA crystals symbolizes the bringing of knowledge to the understanding of autism, bringing light into the darkness of the current gaps in knowledge."

Gledhill also gave us some insight into his process, including the fact that all the DNA used in his snapshots is synthesized, woven together protein-by-protein in a labratory. "You'd need ten gallons of blood to get this much DNA," he jokes, which we both agreed wasn't reasonable to ask of anyone.

Check out Gledhill's handiwork in the images below as you listen to the DNA-inspired piano arrangement above. And to learn more about MSSNG, visit the website.

See more of Linden Gledhill's work on his website, and visit Autism Speaks for more information.


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