| Read Seed's accompanying profile of the artist: At the Edge of Perception »

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

See Luke Jerram’s site for more on his projects | Photographs courtesy of Luke Jerram | Image Permalink

Glass Microbiology

Jerram worked with scientists from the University of Bristol to create a series of glass sculptures of the planet’s most notorious microbes. The result is a curious tension between beauty and the deadliness of the pathogens. This depiction of Escherichia coli measures more than 100-cm long.

Glass Microbiology

In addition to reproducing historically deadly viruses, such as a smallpox variant (left) and HIV (right) shown here, Jerram dreamt up his own mutant pathogen (middle). The nature of scientific objectivity is a recurring theme in Jerram’s work. “We’re imposing our culture on scientific data whether we like it or not,” he says.

Glass Microbiology

The series began as a reaction to science communication; Jerram says his goal was “to make people ask questions about virology or the nature of the data they see in media.” The transparent pieces contrast the pseudocolored renderings of microbes depicted in scientific literature.

Tide

After speaking with NASA researchers, medieval musicologists, and astrophysicist Mark Birkinshaw, Jerram created an installation that “sings” the Moon’s gravity, using a highly sensitive device that detects minute changes in the gravitational pull of the Moon on the gallery space.

Tide

Real-time data from the gravity meter controls water levels in three glass globes; attached friction devices make them “sing,” like a finger on the rim of a wine glass. As the water levels rise and fall, the pitches shift. “The resulting song—based on Kepler’s theories of ‘music of the spheres’—changes according to where the Moon is in relation to the artwork,” Jerram says.

Plant Orchestra

Specialized microphones will transform the otherwise imperceptible acoustic emissions from plants—which botanists use to study plant growth and metabolism—into a remixed soundscape when the installation opens later this month at the University of Cambridge Botanical Gardens.

Sky Orchestra

An experimental live arts project that explores the perception of musical stimuli during sleep, Sky Orchestra has traveled to Sydney, Bristol, and Stratford, UK, as well as Switzerland.

Sky Orchestra

The project involves launching seven hot air balloons mounted with studio speakers over urban environments at dawn. Each balloon plays a separate component of a single score. Jerram consulted with scientists studying the effects of music on sleeping patterns and collaborated with composer Dan Jones to create the musical elements.

Retinal Memory Volume

Exploiting the neurological phenomenon of retinal afterimages, Jerram creates ephemeral phantom sculptures. The installation, originally created in 1997, is considered a classic in its field and still tours galleries around the world.

Dream Director

Jerram designed 20 interactive pods that immerse overnight museum visitors in REM-triggered “dreamscapes,” which they then record in journals. The touring project also serves as a tool for sleep research with potential clinical applications, blurring the boundaries between art and science.

Resonance

With a major grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, over the next several years Jerram will investigate the relationship between acoustics, wind, and architecture. “One result from the research will be a massive structure that resonates and sings with the wind,” Jerram says.

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