Humanescence is a dynamic, floor to ceiling sculpture of human anatomy at the UC Denver Health Sciences Center created under the auspices of the Colorado Council of the Arts. This permanent display is featured in the new Health Sciences Library atrium to welcome all visitors. The title of the sculpture is derived from Human, Essence, and Luminescence. This rendering of human anatomy was accomplished by an amalgamation of anatomy from the National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project with the unique 3D presentation and patented lighting effects of Rae Douglass. Anatomical features from the photographic images were transcribed onto 241 – 25′ long, 3/4″ wide, stainless steel filaments by methods devised and patented by Rae Douglass.


In the finished sculpture, each labeled filament is anchored in a matrix to the ceiling and extends to an oak pedestal two floors below. The sculpture appears to shimmer as the viewer moves around the column because of the moiré pattern of the matrix of filaments. Energy efficient fluorescent lighting is placed at the top and base of the sculpture to make the body imagery printed onto the diffraction film appear self-illuminated. The display creates a visual paradox that speaks to the current challenge of the medical profession. You see, it is natural to make the array of filaments denser and increase the proportion of the image to void space because more cross sectional imagery will be displayed. The paradox comes when you realize that you can no longer see as deeply into the body.





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