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Curiosities: A look inside Europe’s largest Blood factory

From withdraw to transfusion, blood and blood components go through a multitude of tests. The rigid handling and testing procedures are set in place to prevent contamination, transmission, and expiration. While there are copious amounts of symbiotic organisms in the human body, the bloodstream is normally a sterile environment. It is crucial to maintain that sterility or you risk infecting the patient who receives those blood products.

There is a testing standard on blood, both before withdraw and after collection. Donors are screened with important questions that are used to prevent the transmission of disease. The blood is then typed and screened for transmittable diseases. Once a unit is deemed transfusable it has to be stored and then shipped to facilities. Proper storage must be maintained or there is a risk of spoilage.

It is of no surprise that the director of this video, Greg White, is inspired by the repetitions of form in space. There is no better place to find this setting than inside a regulated blood factory. I am unsure about the video, but Mosaic Science commissioned White to take photographs for an article in their online magazine.

The video itself is incredible, and reflective of repetition in visuals and in sound. It is worth mentioning that the sound was created with SK1 Casio loops, e-bow guitars and other sound designs by Golden Hum. It was slowed to match the film’s almost static images, and feels erie and suspenseful.

Design Curiosities: Collotype Printing

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This short documentary by German director Fritz Schumann beautifully captures the dying art of Collotype printing. Developed by French and German printers in the 1860s, Collotype was the first practical process of photolithography. There are now only two Collotype printers left in the world, both in Kyoto, Japan. While most other printing processes must break up an image into a series of halftone screens or “dots”, Collotype printing produces a continuous tone image that almost completely preserves the look and color depth of the source.

Collotype was invented by Alphonse Louis Poitevin in 1855. Poitevin discovered that metallic salts suspended in gelatin harden when exposed to light. In the Collotype process, a plate of glass or metal is coated with this light-sensitive bichromate gelatin solution. This coated glass is baked to create a fine reticulated surface before the plate is exposed to light in contact with the negative. The gelatin hardens in proportion to the exposure and the unexposed (i.e. unhardened) gelatin is carefully washed away. Once dry the plate is coated with glycerin, allowing the remaining hardened bichromate gelatin to absorb moisture from the air, once again in proportion to the exposure. To produce prints, the plate is rolled with lithographer’s ink, which adheres to the areas of the plate containing the least amount of water, and printed to paper.

Curiosities: Moiré Lights

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David Derksen in an industrial designer whose work you may recognize. In 2011, he created a series of mirrors with Lex Pott called Transcience. It included several geometric mirrors with the silver in various stages oxidation. Similar in their golden tone, these Moiré lights are some of his studio’s more recent work. Based on moiré principle, rotating the back layer gives rise to rings, squares and hexagons. Visually stunning. They are still searching for a manufacturer, but you can purchase other work created by the studio on their webshop.

Observed: Chemistry Series by Martin Ålund

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Artist Martin Ålund recently exhibited his painting suite called Chemistry, and released a book of the same title. The paintings themselves are dark and cloudy, with layers piled on and shaved off. They were made with a variety of substances mixing and reacting with each other, thus the name Chemistry. Among other things, it also deals with, “the chemistry that emerges between the different works, the personal chemistry in encounters among individuals, the inner chemistry of sensibilty and reflection, and the chemistry that emerges through the work process.”

I think far too often artists forget the importance of design when displaying their work. It is refreshing to see that this was not lost on Ålund. His online presence and monograph for this series match his artistic voice, and are incredibly beautiful. The book was designed by Bedow, and was printed in an edition of 600 copies—available at Konst/ig Books.

Sights: The Menil Collection

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※ Photographs by DC
The Menil Collection