Culturally associated with the medical activity, the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a technique that allows the visualization of the body structures that are not directly accessible to the naked eye. However, MRI also has an aesthetic component that is the basis of inspiration for several works of artistic expression. This component (aesthetics) is recognized not only in the artistic world. In the laboratory , the aesthetic value of MRI is recognized.
Here, however, it assumes a secondary role since in this context, these images are to serve other purposes (helping to decide if a certain structure is healthy or not). On the contrary, in the artistic context, aesthetic value is of primordial importance, being identified, deconstructed and interpreted by the artist in order to create his work.
There are artistic products inspired by the MRI, that are based only on the beauty of the image, and there are others based on the data itself or the process of obtaining the MRI image, whether regarding the mathematical transformations that enables the transformation of the data in image, or the process for obtaining data (that results from the recording of the electric current emitted by hydrogen atoms – see NOTE, at the bottom of the post)
Here are some artistic expressions based on the beauty of the MRI images:
- Better Man Than He (MRI Music Video) – Sivu
- Alya Red: A computational heart – Barcelona Supercomputing Center
- Life Lines – Angela Palmer
- Embroidered MRI slice- Becky Stern
Use of data / processes associated with RM for artistic production:
- RAPT I – (Video) Justine Cooper
- Functional Portraits – Marta de Menezes and Patricia Figueiredo
- Eco – Marc Didou
These are some of the examples where art and science intersect, raising awareness of the beauty of science and philosophical questions on science.
NOTE: “MRI is an electromagnetic technique that realigns hydrogen nuclei in the body. It exploits the property of these atoms to move when they are inserted into a bigger magnetic field and to align themselves according to field-specific frequency. The magnetic field causes these atoms to emit an electric current which is translated into an image of the scanned area” (1).