Getting to The Heart of the Matter with 3D Printing

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Combining medically accurate models with allegorical artworks, new exhibition “The Heart of the Matter” takes a closer look at the complexity — and beauty — of the human heart using 3D printed sculptures.

In literature and the arts, the human heart is frequently used to symbolize love and other emotions. But it is also functions as the engine room of the body, an intricate piece of machinery pumping blood through our veins.

Currently running at the Great North Museum in Newcastle, United Kingdom, The Heart of the Matter is an exhibition that brings together art and science to reflect on the human heart.

Through artworks inspired by patients with heart conditions, their families and clinicians, the exhibition invites visitors to explore the nature and complexity of this vital organ.

Within this project, the combination of technology and participation underpins the production of art. Most prominently, 3D printing technology is used for the fabrication of exact replicas of hearts and vessels based on medical imagery.

A free programme of talks, workshops and activities accompany The Heart of the Matter exhibition, offering insights into the medicine, technology and participatory discipline that underpin this unique arts and science collaboration.

Heart of the Matter to Travel Around the UK

The Heart of The Matter first began as a collaboration between artist Sofie Layton and bioengineer Giovanni Biglino in 2017.

They gathered together a group of patients with heart conditions at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, the Bristol Heart Institute and the Adult Congenital & Paediatric Heart Unit of Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

In a series of workshops with scientists, artists, students, and nurses, the group looked at the heart emotionally and metaphorically. Conversations and stories from these workshops have in turn inspired artworks that offer insight into the heart, using scientific and artistic methods.

Medical 3D printing and topographical maps describe cardiovascular anatomy; digital animation responds to medical imaging; and other abstracted stories are given form in printed textiles, sound installations and sculpture.

The Heart of the Matter is free to visit at the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle until 6 May. The exhibition will then travel to the cities of Bristol and London later in 2018.

heart of the matter
heart of the matter

License: The text of “Getting to The Heart of the Matter with 3D Printing” by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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