The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, in Berlin, has an interesting short description of a science-art project on human variation: “Looking at Diversity”.
Along with our interest in the aesthetic traditions of rendering these images, this awakened our desire for a non-deterministic portrayal of human variation that expresses its complexity, open-endedness, and dynamics, and thus the impossibility of its rendering. This was one of the topics of many conversations with Katrin von Lehmann, who then developed her own approach to the topic Human Variation: Emanating from the simple idea of a coloured pencil drawing underneath a perforated sheet of paper, she concentrates on the view in itself. There is only as much seen from the coloured pencil drawing as allowed by the holes in the perforated sheet. The rest of the drawing is covered; it exists, but is not visible. The directed view takes something into focus, on the other hand, blinds out something else.
Lynn Fellman, who is presently artist-in-residence at the National Evolution Synthesis Center (NESCent), has been undertaking a similar kind of project – in her case, focused on the relation of diversity and genetic histories. Those interested can check out video from her previous project, “When Humans Met Neanderthals”.