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MACRO The biggest | MICRO The smallest

The biggest. The smallest. They coexist in harmony. The universe seen as a well-ordered whole. Existence as the act or state of living or having objective reality. Totality as the whole of something.

produced by: Alix Martínez Martínez

Project Description

In July 2016 my sister was diagnosed with Cancer. Others before her were diagnosed as well. Disease attacks. Harmony becomes chaos. Existence might be questioned. Priorities. Science as a religion. “MACRO The biggest | MICRO The smallest” is a reflection about the Cosmos, Evolution of the human being, Growth, Cells… It is a story of Mutation, Cancer, what we are made of, what we will be. Ontogony, as the history of structural changes in a particular living being.

“Every interaction of an organism, every behavior observed, can be assessed by an observer as a cognitive act. In the same way, the fact of living - of conserving structural coupling uninterruptedly as a living being - is to know in the realm of existence. In a nutshell: to live is to know (living is effective action in existence as a living being)”. The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding by Humberto R. Maturana p.174



The research of the images was starting point in this task. Cell, cell mutation, cell reproduction, the evolution from healthy cells into to cancer ones. When discovering, reflecting and analyzing about the smallest, the biggest became obvious and stars and constellations appeared into to the task. 

Visual inspiration is based on science images. Different sources for the biology pictures and, for the space pics, creative commons open source available in the flickr NASA. Initial code exploration and ideas: perlin noise and random agents. On growth and evolution: cellular automata, isosurfaces-metaballs, reaction-diffusion. Finally, isosurfaces were the chosen selection. The piece is composed for five scenes where background and foreground represent relevant roles. 

Scene 1 – Intro. It displays a breast cell in the background. In the foreground appears the Cancer constellation with the lota Cancri Star, Asellus Borealis Star, Asellus Australis Star, Acubens Star and Altarf Star. The biggest (constellation) becomes the smallest, and the smallest (cell) appears as the lead role. Both exist side by side together in the form of text.

Scene 2 - Dataset. It shows a six-month evolution of Hematology and Biochesmitry information. Anomaly values are highlighted in blue.

Scene 3 - Mitosis: In the foreground Cancer development cells. A healthy cell through genetic change become a cancer one. It doubles up until it becomes a malignant tumor. In the background an image from the Cosmos taken from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Scene 4 - Isosurfaces- Metaballs: In the foreground y cells based on Daniel Shiffman’s tutorial. As in the rest of the scenes transparency and blend modes play a relevant role. In the background the same Image of the previous scene released by the NASA.

Scene 5 – The Cancer constellation that appears in the first scene evolves and grows and becomes the cosmos.

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Scene 1, 2 and 5 - Images: Source National Cancer Institute. This image was released by the National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health, with the ID 2175

Code: OpenFrameworks: Examples: Graphics: fontsExample | Cancer constellation star positions based on 

Scenes 3 and 4 - Images: Nasa on the Cosmos. Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates 25 Years of Unveiling the Universe. This image has been treated to correct color in order to adapt it to the assignment.

Code: Blob shape based on | Isosurfaces-Metaballsn Based on Shiffman Coding Challenge Processing Metaballs