The Devil is in the Detail – 2013 – commissioned by Oxford Brookes University.

The Devil is in the Detail



As part of the Women in Science Exhibition in the Fish Tank Gallery I was asked to submit an entry, and here it is.

The pieces on either side are the images produced by a scientific technique designed by Dr Ryan Pink to profile the genes involved in the drug resistance of Women’s cancer. Each dot is of fluorescent DNA and represents a different specific gene to make up every human gene. This ultra hi-definition scan is one of twelve samples less than 2cm square on a standard size glass slide totalling around 3.2 million results in one two day run.

The centre piece is a college discussing that although cancer research seems so slight by the public, techniques like those that make the two flanking images are making great advancements. The matrix of blood samples are in rows of the most common women’s cancers over time. The blood is on modern diagnostic paper and was donated by a cancer survivor. Using a common standard dilution science technique, the blood is increasingly diluted to the percentage of the five year survival rates. Its difficult to see by eye however there is a huge increase in survival from left to right, shaded by the rich nature of blood, it colour and its emotional impact. Blood was used here not just because it’s the very communicator of the body, but because its holds most of promise in the future for cancer diagnosis and reducing cancer deaths, in an age when prevention is becoming possible through such genetic profiling.


Leave a Reply