This last Fall, I attended The NYU/Poly “Imaging and Imagination” forum. I was very interested in many of the topics that were covered. Two of them in particular really resonated with me.
The first was Medical Imaging technology Physicians and Pathologists use these tools to make diagnoses and save lives. Daniel Sodickson’s presentation on MRIs illustrated the advances in the amount of data that can be collected now. Real time changes can be observed and collected. Instead of a still image, they can observe over time. As an artist and as a layman however, I found the imagery to be not only boring, but extremely opaque. In the question and answer portion of the lecture, I inquired as to how the tools for visualizing with the data affected their ability to parse it. The response was that for every one hour of data recording, it required twenty hours of analysis by a trained professional. This got me thinking about visualization. What visual characteristics could the data be imbued with that would make it easier to visually parse?
* Is such a process even possible using an MRI image?
Interfacing with medical professionals requires me to familarize myself with the data that they are encountering.
* Data How is it recorded, how is it parsed at present?
o What are the Doctors looking for?
o What new information do the recent advances in the technology allow them to see?
* What do I need to know to work with the Engineers that are making the imaging equipment?
o Do I need to work with them?
* What do I need to be able to articulate when talking to the Computer Scientists building the interface?
o Do I need them or can I work with the trained operator?
o What type of exportable data does the system yield?
Potential visual solutions might be using different Textures or material attributes to express particular values in an image. Values of interest could be mapped to a specular value or brightness. I would use Maya to construct the model. If this is successful, perhaps a longer term project that creates a production pipeline for such imagery might be possible.
Many times I have seen the utilitarian approach to visualizing medical data. This works for professionals but sometimes I think it does not resonate with the layman. Perhaps a visualization that achieves both would be helpful, especially since the laymen is often the patient whose data is being analyzed.
This semester, Nanotechnology was offered as a subject. At first I thought of “tiny robots”. After further reading, it has become clear to me that it was the Feynman lecture “There is plenty of room at bottom” that inspired much of what I did, or in this case, did not know. As I have become more informed about the topic, and given that it is being presented in the class, I have thought this might be a worthy focus of my efforts.
Returning again to The Imaging and Imagination Forum as a source of inspriation, I would like to talk about Tim Bromage’s lecture “The Art of the Scientific Image”.
A Proffessor from the “biomaterials” section of the College of Dentistry, Tim gave a wonderful presentation on Science as inspiration for art. Beautiful abtract images from Electron microscopes were on display. All were parts of something small and physical, never seen by the human eye. This really moved me, I am a lover of abstract art, but I have never purused it. In my mind you need a thread, a narrative to make it cohesive and relevant. Focusing on Nanotech however could provide said narrative.
* What processes can be observed on a nanoscale that would be of potential visual interest.
* In thinking of making a series of images is there a control/varible situation that could serve as a narrative for the series. i.e. could one use the reactions of various related metalloids as a basis for a collection of paintings?
* If this would be my aesthetic focus, with whom would I START my research:
o A chemist who understands materials?
o A Physicist that understands Nanoscale reactions?
o an Engineer who actually operates the imaging equipment that would observe the creative experiments?
* What equipment can I gain access to?
I would probably have to interface with all of these experts to build a solid series of work. This will require gaining an understanding of each expertise and how it interacts with the other.
I see this as a two part journey.
* First I will have to figure out how to set up and capture whatever phenomena that the experts feel might yield the reactions I desire. This is will be science. Creating an experiment, executing and recording it.
* The second part of this will be the creative abstraction. I must experiment with an image process that is both appealing and consistent. If a different process is applied to each image, the cohesion could be compromised. I would see this as a failure.