Endless Forms Most Beautiful

 This work explores two current strands of interest, one new, and the other far older, and from my teenage years. The most recent theme is the concept of vitalism, a theory that held that living organisms were fundamentally different from non-living entities, in that they contained some unique non-physical element called the vital or life spark. The older strand, and I think that it’s fair to call it an obsession now, is the process of crystallisation. I can trace this back to a period of two days when my teenage mind was exposed to the wonder of J.G Ballard’s The Crystal World. So here I am many years later, adding Urea, the synthesis of which by Friedrich Wöhler led to vitalism’s demise, to a culture of my own epithelial cells. This exquisite form emerged spontaneously from my experiment. A life-like domain, and a distinctly crystalline one, connected by a fine thread-like umbilicus. Extraordinary, I’ve never seen anything quite like this before. Life is strange.

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