Colorful artwork for O|2 offers new perspective on cellular life

‘Cytopia’, a work by artist Pinar Yoldas for the O|2 auditorium, will be officially unveiled on January 21.

12/10/2018 | 1:49 PM

The VU Art Committee commissioned this work and it will be installed between December 12 and 15 on the outside wall of the Auditorium. Three researchers – who all work in the O|2 building - were involved in the selection of the artist. You are all welcome to join the official opening on January 21 at 4.30 p.m.

The O|2 Building is a state-of-the-art shared research environment that houses researchers from VU Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Medical Center, and the University of Amsterdam to jointly tackle socially relevant issues in the field of Human Life Sciences. Pinar Yoldas has created an artwork that establishes an aesthetic and theoretical bridge to the research being carried out in the building - like the O|2 building itself, the work embraces the latest technology-based artistic practices.

‘Cytopia’  focusses on the essence of life: cells
Cytologists at O|2 study cells in search of opportunities for improving health issues. Cancer is one of the leading death causes in the western world, a disease we are trying to understand, prevent and cure. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.

Quest for eternal life
Cyto comes from the Ancient Greek word “kútos”, which  means “container, receptacle”. Topia comes from “tópos”, which means “place, region” and refers to possible futuristic scenarios. Instead of approaching the cancer cell as a threat or a monster, Yoldas investigates the cancer cell with utmost curiosity by speculating on its inherent possibilities. What can we learn about regenerative medicine and longevity from these cells? Could the understanding of the unrevealed processes of cancer eventually lead to the possibility of immortality? Does the cancer cell contain the answer to this age-old human quest for eternal life?

Other possible perspectives
To evoke these high-level, hypothetical questions, Yoldas has designed an artwork that orchestrates the human sensorium. By employing color, form and physical presence, it opens our minds for other possible perspectives, through a composition based on images of cancer cells from the O|2 lab.

21st century mathematical methods
Yoldas has used 21st century mathematical methods like Eigenvectors to generate organic abstraction in these cell structures. The design will comprise different segments to illustrate the organic structure of the cells. The pastel colors evoke a soft and sensitive feeling.

Symbol of identification for the O|2 building
Situated near the public entrance of O|2 building, this joyful, vivid artwork will draw the attention of visitors and passersby, while researchers may recognize its origin and relate it to their own work. By making the research inside the building visible, tangible, and concrete for all viewers, ‘Cytopia’ can become a symbol of identification for the O|2 building.

About the artist
Pinar Yoldas (USA/ Turkey) is an interdisciplinary designer/artist/researcher currently based in La Jolla, USA. Trained in Arts and Science Yoldas produces research based arts that investigate concepts for the future. Her work develops within biological sciences and digital technologies through architectural installations, kinetic sculpture, sound, video and drawing with a focus on post-humanism, eco-nihilism, anthropocene and feminist technoscience. Pinar is an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at the research university UC San Diego.

For further information about the artist.