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  • Writer's pictureEnid Gonzalez-Orta

Self-Embodiment of Antibiotic Detection by Mark V.

The picture illustrated above is a water-based marker and watercolor on paper entitled "Self-embodiment of Antibiotic Detection." I chose this media for my #SciComm project as a way to emphasize the human aspect of research. From my interactions with people who live their lives outside of the STEM fields, I've noticed that there is a general disconnect between the understanding of what type of effort is put into scientific research and what research is and how realistically approachable this type of work is for many people. In my experience, many people envision research to be soulless and mostly done on the computer scouring databases and simulating outcomes. In reality, many research endeavors are incredible intimate undertakings with lots of room for self-expression and social interactions.

I was inspired by a manga panel from Jujutsu Kaisen by Gege Akutami, in which a villain character who embodies the fear of humans uses an ability that sprouts blooming hands like a flower. I thought the idea of hands blooming into a flower was fitting for the kind of message I wanted to deliver, as plants we harvest are soil samples from, and hands are used to represent humans. The hands emphasize the humanity of research, and are specifically positioned in lab-task activities such as plate streaking and operating a microscope. The hands are also colored blue to emulate nitrile gloves. In half of the hands the tools are replaced with pill-shaped silhouette to represent either bacteria or the vision of an effective antibiotic. The pills sprout tendrils to resemble both roots and flagella (even though flagella don't branch), which in the case or roots specifically represent the sample Natalie and I havested from the roots of a tree in the arboretum. Finally, the background is water colored a light purple and left a bit streaky to resemble the Gram staining process. 


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