Plastic artist Amparo Garrido and 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Elizabeth Blackburn, are the two protagonists of the latest edition of CNIO Arte. This initiative was first launched five years ago by the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), with support from the Banco Santander Foundation, to promote the relationship between art and science.
The centerpiece of this edition is the short film by Garrido Meditation, which was presented yesterday at the CNIO headquarters in Madrid, and which includes impressive scenes and sounds. It captures the search for silence and nature during the author’s trip to Extremadura, Monfragüe and the region of Siberia, classified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
Garrido’s work is “a precious work capable of capturing without words a concept that emerges from my research on stress and telomeres”, said Elizabeth Blackburn.
Garrido’s work is “a precious work capable of capturing without words a concept that emerges from my research on stress and telomeres”, said Blackburn, during the presentation in a recorded speech from his home in the United States.
“In Meditation the landscape is beautiful but dry, nature is beautiful but tense. Then we see water, it rains, the landscape is regenerated and there is restoration”, added the scientist.
Artist Amparo Garrrido in front of a portrait of Elizabeth Blackburn, at CNIO. / Antonio Tabernero / CNIO
The Hope of Regeneration
Blackburn considers an analogy with what happens to telomeres, as stress leaves a molecular imprint on the ends of chromosomes, “but there’s hope, this can be regenerated.”
Garrido highlighted that nature and her “are the same thing, for seconds you feel a kind of fusion: there is no separation between the tree, the water, the cloud or you”.
The conversations between the artist and the scientist and the Nobel Prize works led Garrido to undertake a search for silence and nature in Extremadura, armed with his camera.
A scientist and an artist collaborated on this project, so the conversations between the two and the Nobel Prize works led Garrido to undertake a search for silence and nature in Estremadura, armed with his camera. Garrido measured his telomeres at the beginning of his journey and now, as part of the artistic project, he will measure them again.
Almost 20 years ago, Elizabeth Blackburn, a researcher at the University of California, published her work in the journal PNAS Accelerated telomere shortening in response to life stresswhich was then met with skepticism.
However, the director of the CNIO, María Blasco, recalled during the presentation that this work by Blackburn is now considered essential and has opened a new area of research that addresses the physical impact of mental health.
Promoting interaction between science and art is a great way to bring science closer to the general public.
Maria Blasco, Director of the CNIO
Blasco also highlighted that “promoting the interaction between science and art is a magnificent way of bringing science closer to the general public”.
Garrido’s work for CNIO Arte, consisting of a short film and two photographs of vultures, remains on display at the organisation’s headquarters, although it will be on display at the CNIO stand at the next edition of the contemporary art fair ARCO.