Reuben-GLAM seminar: Immortal Visualisations

Two new, uniquely designed books present compilations of biological data from 1,000s of individuals, and prompt provocative questions about the nature of science and humanity. What does a person’s biological data mean to the scientist, the artist, the patient or the student? How should it be collected, viewed, analysed or interpreted? And how does the presentation of that data change perceptions of its use or significance?  

In this seminar, co-hosted by the Bodleian Libraries and Reuben College and the first in the Reuben-GLAM Seminar Series, we open a conversation between artist Ben Denzer and two Reuben College Fellows to explore these questions and discover new understandings of the relationships between art and science, and literature and labels.

The conversation will be launched after a live presentation of two unique books created by Ben Denzer, artist-in-residence at the Broad Institute of MIT. “60,000 Immortalized Individuals” is a small, thick ring-bound catalogue of public information on individuals whose cells are “immortalized” in cell lines used for scientific research. “12,000 Skin Cells” is a set of three small ring-bound books, each containing images of 12,000 fibroblast cells of people with and without bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. 

The books prompt different questions and reflections for neurobiologist Esther Becker and bioethicist Angeliki Kerasidou, both of whom are Reuben College Official Fellows. The conversation will be facilitated by Christopher Fletcher, Keeper of Special Collections at the Bodleian Libraries.

This seminar will be of interest to scientists, ethicists, artists and lovers of the book, and is open to all. There will be opportunities for questions.  

The event will be held online. Please register in advance to be sent the link to participate.

Register online now

The Reuben-GLAM Seminar Series is a newly launched series of events that aim to generate conversations among academics and librarians, curators, and artists to highlight the research and engagement potential of the University’s extraordinary collections held across its gardens, libraries and museums.

immortal individuals book

"60,000 Immortalized Individuals" by Ben Denzer, published by Catalog Press

Denzer book - skin cells

"12,000 Skin Cells" by Ben Denzer, published by Catalog Press

Download the event poster