Alex and Melody

Alex – Animal genetics, laser capture microdissection, somatic evolution, paternal age mutations, art and illustration. Melody – Abstract photography, the story of radiation, kintsugi and baking.

Before collaborating on #flowcellular
I didn’t know…
Melody: Anything about science. I’ve never done science, so I completely thought oh my, what am I getting into. Alex: How much fun it would be.

I had always wondered…
Melody: How art and science connect. It’s that connection that you know is there but how to demonstrate that. Alex: How you can creatively communicate about somatic evolution. I think particularly around the visual language because it doesn’t really exist. Lots of other fields of science have visuals that come to mind when you think about them like space and solar systems, but when it comes to somatic evolution, it was like a black hole. Things like the bubble metaphor didn’t exist before.

During #flowcellular
I was most surprised by…
Melody: The fact that science could be so much fun you don’t think of it in that way, especially when it’s the studying of ageing and cancer. It’s been amazingly interesting in that way. I suddenly want to be a scientist, when I grow up.
Alex: How can you use food to talk about science? I think of myself as quite open-minded, but I was like well, how is food going to work?

I experimented with…
Melody: My photography, I just got off on a complete tangent with it. It’s made me use things that are around, ordinary stuff to demonstrate things. I’m in a different time, in a completely different zone from where I was. It’s transformed my life. It’s like thinking of an image not as a fact but as a sort of communicating something.
Alex: All sorts of ways of using food and things in the kitchen to talk about science.

Towards the end of #flowcellular
I think differently about…
Alex: What art can be. Before I thought pen and paper, or certain mediums and it was about producing something beautiful or meaningful with those. I think what we do is just as meaningful as any painting, it’s about people exploring things together and co-creating. I’ve been thinking of new experiments to do because of this project. Playing around with things helps you think outside of the box, and it helps you to ask questions you might not have asked otherwise.
Melody: Cancer from the abstract to it becoming a reality which I didn’t take seriously at all at first until I got into the treatment and then I thought oh wow, this is perhaps a little bit more serious. I hadn’t had that experience when I had cancer before. I’m very interested in the hi-tech equipment they use for radiotherapy, and I suppose that’s the science part of it for me. I started to look at things in a completely different way. When I heard about the [COVID-19] vaccines the first thing I wanted to know is how do they work? I want to know the science behind it, I wouldn’t have thought of that before, it would have just gone over my head.

I will always remember…
Melody: I will always remember this experience and the way it changed my life. Meeting Alex that’s made the whole process because he is an artist and comes from that way of thinking. We’ve had some wonderful discussions about Chernobyl and it’s just been absolutely phenomenal for me. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Alex: I’ll always remember Melody’s enthusiasm and just how amazing all the discussions have been. Also, I am not sure about the phrase remember, I hope it will go on. I’ll stay in touch with Melody so it’s not an endpoint.

Melody's photography

Alex's illustrations

Alex's lab tour for Melody