ELLEN SANDOR, KEITH MILLER, JANINE FRON, JACK LUDDEN, (art)n, with Jim Strommer, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, PET Study 2 (Lung Cancer): Man Ray/Picabia Imitating Balzac, PHS Cologram composed of Duratrans, Kodalith film, and Plexiglas, 30 × 40 inches, 2003.
This recent acquisition to the National Academy of Sciences’ art collection was created by (art)n —a group of artists who have been collaborating since 1983 to create works that merge art and science. This virtual sculpture, PET Study 2 (Lung Cancer): Man Ray/Picabia Imitating Balzac, is modeled on a photograph of painter Francis Picabia taken by Man Ray. In the original photograph, Picabia is believed to be mimicking the posture of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture Monument to Balzac (1897-98). The layers of this piece include a PET scan of lung cancer made at UCLA’s School of Medicine embedded into a digitized, threedimensional model of the lungs. After mapping this onto the virtual sculpture, the image was then rendered as sixtyfour separate images, each offering a slightly different perspective. When viewed through a backlit barrier screen, the assembled images are perceived by the viewer to exist in three dimensions. Similarity exists between the way that (art)nbuilds up the multiple layers of the virtual sculpture and the way that contemporary medical scanning technologies deconstruct the body in a series of planes.