Artist lights up Derby with digital exhibition

A stunning series of digital drawings and lightboxes will be displayed all over Derby city centre this summer, on bus stops, posters, billboards, the BBC Big Screen in the city’s Market Place and the Royal Derby Hospital.

The works have been created as the result of a collaboration between artist Jo Berry and leading biomedical researchers at the University of Nottingham. In an extraordinary fusion of art and science, the drawings provide a dramatic visual interpretation of their research into how the hunger hormone grehlin stimulates the body’s cells.

With support from the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England, Jo spent six months working in the lab with Tim Self and Dr Nicholas Holliday of Nottingham University School of Biomedical Sciences. Their work focuses on understanding the events that happen inside cells in response to grehlin and how this information could be used to develop drugs that turn hunger on and off as possible treatments for obesity and diabetes.

Taking microscope images of live cell signalling, Jo has turned her research into an innovative new exhibition comprising digital drawings, multi-layered laser-cut lightboxes, vinyls and animations. As well as being aesthetically beautiful, each of the works also gives a glimpse at the processes and signalling events that are occurring in individual cells.
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Image: Jo Berry.

Explaining the motivations behind the project, Jo said: “The project celebrates the human body, the use of new technology, the collaboration between science and art, and also gives the public the opportunity to see science in a new and imaginative way.

“The hormone we studied is in us all, helping us decide when to eat, so the inspiration behind the work is part of everyone.”

The works also include an ‘art documentary’, which filmed Jo throughout the process.

While the main exhibition will be based at Derby Art Museum and Gallery, the project, ‘Hijacking Natural Systems: a voyage of discovery inside our cells’, will be exhibited all over the city on bus stops, posters, billboards, the BBC Big Screen in the town’s Market Place and the Royal Derby Hospital.

Jo will also give guided ‘mapping tours’ around the city and run workshops for the public and schoolchildren, teaching them how her work is created.

Jen Middleton
Media Relations, Wellcome Trust
T 020 7611 7262
M 07534 143849
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Notes to Editors

‘Hijacking Natural Systems’
Saturday 23 July–October 2011
Press preview: Friday 22 July, 2011

More details of Jo and her work can be found at her website or blog.

The science behind Jo’s work can be found at the University of Nottingham website.

To obtain copies of any images and caption information, please contact Jen Middleton.

About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.
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