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J. (Joosten) Müller

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Cell Artefacts

Iconography of Cells in Science Communication

Cells are the smallest structural units of living matter and therefore the foundation of life in general – but what do we really know about cells aside from preconceived perceptions of educational, artistic, and scientific visualizations of cells? What can we learn through these artifacts of knowledge and where do their ideas and designs come from?

This artistic research will shed light on the history of early and contemporary educational models of cells from the perspective of the history of science, evaluating their potential as well as their limitations in the context of current didactic and scientific approaches. Furthermore, the process of creating unique, large-scale, former museum models will be documented, while the relationship between the models as artifacts and their creators will be investigated from the perspective of material culture.

The question of how we learn through models will be discussed in a wider context, focusing on the role of models existing in between the cognitive and material states, as well as on the practice of modeling as an epistemic practice fluctuating between the processes of creative design and modelling in the field of natural science.

The practice-based research will culminate in different material approaches aimed at critically reviewing common ideas about cells and exploring new ways of thinking about and visualizing cells. Moreover, it aims to raise awareness of how models are used as epistemic tools to promote creative thinking through modeling. The project contributes to a better public understanding of our existence by strengthening the knowledge about our smallest, mostly invisible but simultaneously highly complex, multifaceted, diverse, dynamic, and vivid structures — which not only connect all human beings, but all living things on earth.

Last modified:14 May 2024 6.56 p.m.