Thursday, May 21, 2020

Artists and Poets Respond to the Pandemic (18)

Three contributors to the online exhibition "Artists and Poets Respond to the Pandemic" created work inspired by the word "Technology." One, Pauline Kusiask, contributed "Screentime," a piece spotlighted on May 4, 2020. The two remaining, and highlighted here today, are the artist Greg Dunn and the poet Shanna Powlus Wheeler.

Infinitesimal germ, we are not immune /
to your majesty. //

Our scientists bow for hours before the statuesque /
microscopes of our design // [. . . .]
~ from "Crown"

Greg Dunn, "Brain Machine Interface"
Microetched Print
"18" x 24" (Unframed) and 24" x 32" (Unframed)


Dr. Greg Dunn is a neuroscientist and an artist. His collaborator on his microetchings is Dr. Brian Edwards, an applied physicist and artist. Together, using physical and digital techniques, which are explained at Greg's Website, Greg Dunn Neuro Art, they create complex renderings of the brain based on deep neuroscience research and actual scientific data. Their work has been exhibited at numerous scientific venues.

Dunn describes "Brain Machine Interface" as "a piece about the interconnected future of the human brain [that] comments on both the amazing benefits and potential dangers of these powerful neural interfacing technologies." 

Given the world's overwhelming use of computers during the pandemic, I thought Greg's was a particularly apt contribution to the exhibition.

Shanna Powlus Wheeler is the author of two collections of poetry: Evensong for Shadows and Lo & Behold. Shanna teaches writing at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 

Shanna's poem "Crown" describes in striking terms the electron microscope images of the novel coronavirus that has produced the pandemic. Those images were released in February 2020 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. While it might not be considered beautiful physically, the virus and its mutations certainly are artful creations of nature; their workings continue to elude the most brilliant of scientists.

St. Michael's Episcopal Church (Arlington, Va.), which supports the arts ministry I lead, is host to the multi-part online exhibition. On the church's new Instagram page, you'll find images of other artworks, which are augmented daily. Websites, blog sites, and other information about the artists and poets can be found at "Artists' Biographical Information" and "Poets' Biographical Information," respectively. Some artworks, including Greg's, are available to purchase; see "Purchase List for Artworks."

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