Tryptych Equilibria Three examples of equilibria are shown These equilibria apply to different scales from the molecular to the ecological. No matter where the gaze of the scientist or artist, complexity is at the heart of the matter. In this case there are complex mechanisms operating to maintain an apparently simple equilibrium.
a.Conformational equilibrium Andreas Winkler. Max Planck Institute for Medical Research Andreas writes 'Specialized proteins function as gatekeepers of protein expression. Sitting on the double stranded DNA they block the formation of transcripts that would afterward be translated into proteins required for energy generation using light. Depending on the ability to "avoid shadows" they control the formation of components of the photosynthetic machinery. Interaction of the depicted complex with a specialized blue-light photoreceptor enables the integration of light signals, eventually fine- tuning different energy generating processes in the organism.'
His language is, as one would expect, specialised. Art uses its own specialised vocabulary. A problem arises in collaborative work when the language of each cultural group needs to be heard. I selected this image as it reminds me of my first meeting with enzymes in biochemistry when reading the course textbook by Leninger at university. If Watson said of DNA 'it really is pretty' then so is this.
b. Functional equilibrium (Christopher Gee. University of Washington) Christopher writes That is one of my favourite images as shows us an otherwise invisible process of communication between a leaf and the root (even a specific single emerging lateral root).'
Jennifer Nemhauser University of Washington. writes 'Photosynthesis is both an amazing boon and a serious metabolic challenge for plants. ‘Functional equilibrium’ describes the balancing act whereby plants have to modify growth of leaves or flowers or roots to match the availability and utilization of available resources. Even in poor light, seedlings will undergo photomorphogenesis—unfurling their embryonic leaves (cotyledons) and decelerating growth in the embryonic stem (hypocotyl)—to develop their photosynthetic capacity before seed reserves are exhausted. Seed reserves also contain nutrients required to support photomorphogenesis but the developing root must quickly take over the task of nutrient acquisition. Photosynthetic rates in above-ground tissues shape the extent and pattern of growth in below-ground organs. The hypocotyl is a likely path for such signals as it acts as a physical bridge between the carbon-fixing leaves and nutrient-acquiring roots.'
I selected this image as there is an inherent duality represented. This is an entire individual plant. We perceive it as a whole. entire individual. We also know that this is an artificial, scientific depiction as in 'the real world' the organism would follow its life line in a complex interacting system. And here is the duality. The organism is at both one and the same time seen as natural and unnatural.
c. Ecological equilibrium Hamer Dodds This is one frame from the 'Unity Principle' series, an unfinished work which at present has 18 frames. This work acts as a bridge between the two scientific images,combining elements from molecular and organism levels in attempt to convey the complexity and interconnectedness of ecosystems at all levels. In a scientific context ecological equilibrium is a point or period in time in which the state of an ecological system is at climax.