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Magic Forest

The Symposium for Landscapes of the Mind has just taken place; unfortunately logistics and money meant I couldn’t be there! I hope it went well. Since I couldn’t be there I thought I would jot down some bits about Magic Forest (2002) that might be pertinent.

First thing is maybe to set it, in place and time and send a few images of the protagonists. By a bit of a contorted journey I eventually met Richard Wingate, my science associate at King’s College London, working in the Medical Research Council Developmental Neurology Department in New Hunt House.

Richard and I often had long discussions in his office near his lab. The conversations were often wide ranging and touched on other interests which were sometimes relevant and sometimes not. Stuff on bikes is not, but a joint interest in early cinema was, especially around early systems of recording movement and projecting it. Eadweard Muybridge (1830 – 1904) and chronphotography was important. Muybridge’s work has echoes of Richard’s stacks of images of his in-vitro growing neurons in the chick brain played as QuickTime Movies. Muybridge was in a sense the father of the motion picture, with the development of the Zoöpraxiscope, and the father of the use of photography to disclose hidden aspects of biological life to. Richard and I also found we had an interest in the wok of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852 – 1934), a Spanish histologist, physician, pathologist, and Nobel laureate. 

As a pathologist Cajal was the explorer of the morphology of the brain and as an interested ‘artist’ his drawings of the brain are compulsive viewing for both Richard and myself. The drawings have a real sensitivity and quality of line.

Though it is still quite a few years on since Magic Forest was made we still work together though and have regular contact, but haven’t made a ‘work’ together since we made Complex Brain: Spreading Arbour (2004) a couple of years after Magic Forest. We have tried but our grant applications seem to get turned down!

I have made a number of works since Magic Forest. Lots of these works have been science related and I have become increasingly interested in the incorporation of science and science imagery into our sense of ‘self’ and who we are. Works like Slice (2004) and We Are Where We Are (2006) have developed these issues.

To be continued. . .

– Andrew Carnie


Above images: Andrew Carnie, Magic Forest, 2002, Courtesy the artist; Andrew Carnie and Richard Wingate; Richard Wingate at the confocal microscope; New Hunt House, King’s College, London; Cajal drawing; Complex Brain: Spreading Arbour (2004); We Are Where We Are (2006).

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