Figure 1A

Figure1A is an international science-art competition and exhibition. The aim is to bring science closer to the public by exploring its artistic value.

Origami I, an artwork by Christine Lavanchy, laboratory team member,  was selected as a finalist piece and will be presented at the 2022 exhibition.

Origami I, detail

Credit: ©christine lavanchy 2022

“ORIGAMI I  is a work that stand at the exact place where chromatic sensitivity, abandonment to sensation and automatic drawing took precedence over all the intellectual reflection and experimental laboratory work that was necessary to obtain these images of DNA origami nanoparticles using AFM (Atomic Force Microscopy). Carried by the sensation, this work is the testimony of a journey through the hexagonal pattern that these origami generated. It takes a moment when the reflection is silent and gives way to a whole range of sensations that the eye must listen to in order to guide the gesture and the right color to translate and exhale the vibratory sensation that this geometrical repetition has given birth to. The scientific background of the technology used becomes a pretext. Even if we talk about the intersection of materials engineering with biophysics and immunology that creates a research space with the potential to advance the impact of DNA-based nanomaterials so that they truly integrate into cellular action…”

The scientific aim behind the image is found in the fundamental understanding on how the balance of flexibility / rigidity on the nano-scale impact self-assembly of molecules on the macro-scale. Using DNA, we engineered tri-symmetric molecules that self-organise into hexagonal networks, where size and order (the amount of hexagonal structure ) was found to be dominated by the nano rigidity of the DNA. This realisation has broader implications on the understanding of natural hexagonal structures, found for example in viral combat and cellular entry. We can follow the network formation in real time and with single molecule accuracy using high-speed atomic force microscopy. The image behind Origami I is a snapshot in time of this dynamic process, that continues to develop and grow in time. From a first microscopy recording, we scientifically transformed the data to analyse and quantify the molecular process, and artistically transformed the image to the Origami I artwork you see today on the exposition.

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