Cell division, also called mitosis, occurs in all living things and is a fundamental process for life. During mitosis, a cell duplicates all of its contents, including its chromosomes, and splits to form two identical daughter cells.
I wonder how to know about this delicate, beyond visible, dynamic process? I draw, alone and together with scientists, moving away from the textbook image to an integrated image of the whole at once. We draw stages, we connect the stages, we think of the process as a dance, a score, an energetic form. I make a 4d (+ time) score to draw in, a body to hold the process. We imagine cell division like a polyphony, and carefully draw the elements, the rhythmic organisation, the tune. Synthesizing our drawings, I draw new details and ask the scientists for a reaction. I revise, redraw and reform. I sit with cell biologist James Wakefield, we talk and draw together, he has an instinctive feeling for biological process, we leave the formal elements aside and draw the relational energy body, not quite sure if we are making sense. We ask other scientists to ‘read’ the image and they tell us they see cell division. ‘Mitosis Score’ is a new image of cell division, all interpretive stages connected in one image, it reminds us of other organic life forms.
In today’s techno-science, to study cell division is to work with state of the art technology – data is collected, computed and collated into images shown on a screen. It is rare to lift a pencil, rarer still to draw. We enjoy the simplicity of drawing as a technology to extend our understanding of this process. These new images raise their own questions – for example, what is happening in the negative space? And so we can continue, with untested hypotheses and questions formed through and of drawing, to experiment further in art and science.