If you ask a child to draw a heart, he or she will likely give you a simple drawing of two arches meeting at a point. In fact, that’s what you’ll probably get if you ask most adults to draw a heart, too. But that simple line drawing, the universal symbol for love, looks nothing like the actual organ sitting inside the human body. That’s probably a good thing, too – the heart’s actual appearance is much less cute and romantic than its cartoon counterpart.
The human heart, though, while maybe not the most attractive to look at, is fascinating in its complexity, and a new exhibition at the Great North Museum in Newcastle, UK takes a close look at the heart in all its forms, both realistic and symbolic. The exhibit, called The Heart of the Matter, combines 3D printed models of actual hearts with artistic renderings of the organ as people see it themselves, whether that’s as a puzzle, a tree, or something else. The exhibit grew out of workshops with patients with congenital heart conditions, led by artist Sofie Layton, health psychologist Jo Wray, and bioengineer Giovanni Biglino.
“We realised there was this incredible richness of imagery that [the patients] associated with their hearts,” Biglino said. “We wanted to explore the medical and poetic perceptions. How do we see the heart medically; as an object, as a form, as a 3D print, as an image, as something with a lot of terminology? But also, how do we see it as something very symbolic, very precious, very fragile, or very resilient?”
The 3D printed hearts in the exhibition are taken from CT scans of some of the patients’ actual hearts. 3D printing the patients’ hearts, according to Biglino, not only helps doctors but the patients themselves, as they can better speak about the affected organ while holding it in their hands.
“It was the idea of what we call ‘making the invisible visible,'” he said. “The heart is something you’re very aware of, especially if you have heart disease; whether it’s because of breathlessness or an irregular heart rate, but you don’t see it. Suddenly these people, some of whom were born with a heart condition, were able to see it, to give it a face.”
The exhibition shows these literal hearts alongside more figurative representations. One patient described their heart as feeling like a Rubik’s cube without a solution, so Layton created a heart made from puzzle pieces. Another piece shows the heart growing from soil.
“In the workshops, quite a few people talked about their hearts like plants or buds or trees,” said Biglino. “It’s interesting because this is language we also use medically when we’re talking about pulmonary branches or trunks, or the arterial tree.”
No other organ in the body is viewed as metaphorically as the heart, so putting artistic imagery next its very real representations makes for a fascinating exhibition. The Heart of the Matter is at the Great North Museum until May 6th, at which time it will travel to Bristol and then London.
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.[Source/Images: Alphr]
You May Also Like
3D Printing News Briefs, August 25, 2021: Software Beta, Self-Replicating Printer, & More
We’re starting with materials in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, as XJet as announced the commercial availability of alumina ceramic. Moving on, Raise3D has announced the ideaMaker 4.2.0 beta, and...
Facility for Mass Roll-to-Roll 3D Printing to Be Opened by MIT Spinout
Massachusetts manufacturing startup OPT Industries uses automation engineering, computational design, and materials science to develop and manufacture customizable functional materials for 3D printing. The MIT spinout company became well-known for its...
3D Printed Sensor Created by Fraunhofer and ARBURG
One of the many Holy Grails of 3D printing is the ability to 3D print fully functional items in a single build process. Companies like Inkbit and Sakuu are after...
Inkbit Raises $30M in Series B Funding, Plans to Expand Production of 3D Printing System
MIT spinout Inkbit has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round led by venture capital firm Phoenix Venture Partners (PVP). The company intends to use the funds to...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.