The Wellcome Collection’s latest exhibition explores not what brains do to us but what we do to them – preserving, studying and collecting. The show’s design takes it cues from the materials used to do just those things
looks at the way in which scientists use brains formedical intervention, scientific enquiry, cultural meaning and technological change. Designers LucienneRoberts+ (Lucinne Roberts and John McGill) took “slicing, cutting, collecting and classifying as our starting point”, to develop a graphic system informed by both brain preservation and categorisation. To research this, they visited the Royal College of Surgeons where the cases used to preserve specimens (such as the one below) provided a reference point.
Working with Capital Models, the designers ‘preserved’ the show’s title in similar fashion.
“Each letter is made of ‘slices’ of acrylic, contained in a bespoke acrylic box filled with a solution of glycerin and water,” they explain. “The refractive index matches that of real specimens so that each sliced letter appears in multiples when viewed at different angles, while the colour palette references both ‘grey matter’ and the energetic activity of the brain.”
The show’s graphics, set in typeface Bureau Grot, allude to diagrams and labels.
Brains: the Mind as Matter is at the Wellcome Collection, Euston Road, London NW1 until June 17.
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