Development of the Visual Circuit — Experimenta

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Helen Pynor
Development of the Visual Circuit of Drosophila melanogaster in 3 Acts: Larva; Pupa I; Pupa II



In 2017 Helen Pynor was commissioned by The Francis Crick Institute, London to undertake an extended residency in the laboratory of Institute scientist Dr Iris Salecker, and to produce artworks in response. This video was recorded over a 22-minute period as Salecker described in detail the complex series of events that take place during the development of brain circuits responsible for vision in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In this highly spatial scientific story, Pynor is interested in the precision and articulate nature of Salecker’s gesture, and the way her body fills in some of the gaps – literally and metaphorically – between language and meaning.

The work falls within a broader interest of Pynor’s in the embodied, situated, performative and subjective nature of scientific practice. Scientific practice does not take place in some rarified, abstracted universe where scientists have a disinterested clinical distance from their subject. Rather, the feeling scientists have for their subject, the extended range of languages they use to articulate their work, and the centrality of their own bodies in dialogue with the bodies they study, are all layered into scientific research in spoken and unspoken ways.

The Artist
Helen Pynor

Dr Helen Pynor is an Artist and Researcher whose practice explores philosophically and experientially ambiguous zones, such as the life-death boundary.