Story Behind the ImageScience-art exhibition marks the 30th anniversary of PCR
An art exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) features collaborative work between artists and scientists from the School of Biosciences.
In a project entitled 'Chain Reaction', supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the University of Kent's Creative Campus, six artists worked alongside scientists and students to gain practical experience of PCR and explore its scientific and social significance. Rather than provide the standard celebratory treatment common with such anniversaries, the collaborative artistic outputs reveal insight into the hidden processes of science and the people involved. The exhibition was held at the Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury in December 2013, and was featured in the Guardian.
The image shown is a photogram, entitled 'Sum of the Parts', by artist Annie Halliday. The photogram, one of the artworks featured in the exhibition, reveals the components of a PCR thermocycler that contribute collectively to the automation of this cornerstone technology. Other artworks explored the rituals associated with undertaking PCR experiments, the exponential amplification of DNA sequences, and the error rates of thermostable polymerases.
Dr Dan Lloyd, of its School of Biosciences, and Dr. Charlotte Sleigh from the School of History worked together to organise the exhibition, bringing together the disiplines of art, science and history.