Mighty Microglia and Pruning the neuronal Forest

Eliot Porter was an American photographer, born in Winnetka, Illinois, who is recognized for his photographs of nature.  Porter studied and earned degrees in chemical engineering and medicine at Harvard University, and also worked as a biomedical researcher at Harvard. Porter was introduced to Alfred Stieglitz by his brother, the painter and art critic, Fairfield Porter.  After a successful showing of his work at Stieglitz’s New York Gallery, An American Place, Porter began to explore photography as his passion and life’s work. 

Mighty Microglia, 2019
Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Diana Torres and Azadeh Gholizadeh
Beth Stevens, The Stevens Lab: Lasse Dissing-Olesen
Special thanks to Caleb Sandor Taub
Stevens Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and The Stanley Center at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Virtual Photograph/Digital PHSCologram Sculpture: Duratrans, Kodalth, Plexiglas, wood
48 x 48 inches

In this PHSCologram sculpture installation, Mighty Microglia is juxtaposed with imagery from Eliot Porter’s Intimate Landscapes Portfolio, Eliot Porter, 1979, Printed by Daniel Wolf Press. from the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection.

 

Porter’s visceral portraits of trees is a metaphor for the organic networks of neurons within the brain. These networks are believed to continuously undergo changes, in part due to synaptic pruning, a process by which neuronal connections (synapses) are eliminated. It can be seen as the brain’s way of weeding out neuronal connections that are no longer needed.  Microglia, the brain’s immune cells, are found throughout the brain where they continuously survey the environment. The Stevens Lab and others have provided evidence that microglia plays an important role in synaptic pruning. 

“From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind . . . “— Eliot Porter

Pruning the Neuronal Forest, 2019

Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Diana Torres and Azadeh Gholizadeh

Beth Stevens, The Stevens Lab: Lasse Dissing-Olesen

Special thanks to Caleb Sandor Taub

Stevens Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and The Stanley Center at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Virtual Photograph/Digital PHSCologram Sculpture: Duratrans, Kodalth, Plexiglas, wood

48 x 48 inches

Pruning the Neuronal Forest PHSCologram sculpture installation was inspired by Ellen Sandor’s grandson, Caleb Sandor Taub, who is  a non-verbal autistic. He was able to communicate with Sandor for the first time in his late teens using the RPM method with emotional depth and intelligence. 

 

Cal researched and asked her to study the synaptic pruning, which led Sandor and (art)n to collaborate with the Stevens Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and The Stanley Center at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University.

 

Pruning the Neuronal Forest PHSCologram sculpture portrays microglia within a forest of neurons and the other depicts how a microglia might prune a synapse. The wooden frames were carved to resemble the dynamic processes of microglia. 

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