The Sneeze Project, between the beauty and the malevolence of pollen
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The Sneeze Project, between the beauty and the malevolence of pollen

Artist Sue Brisco brought The Sneeze Project to NAC at last year’s Fun Palace, the immersive artwork which deals with the beauty and malevolence of pollen is about to get bigger!

Supported by Arts Council, this project aims to creatively inform to hay fever sufferers what they are facing through an engaging experience featuring drawing, exhibitions, postcards talks and films. Fine artist with a scientific background, Susan Brisco intents to communicate science through arts in order to reach a new audience.


The undulating chalk drawings of pollen wall

According to the National Health Service (NHS), 1 in 4 people suffers from hay fever affecting all types and ages of people. Causing a multitude of symptoms such as runny noses, sore itchy eyes and sneezing to more severe debilitating respiratory symptoms, the pollen entities are a real foe for those who suffer from it. Nevertheless, Susan Brisco wants to show an other aspect of pollen. While looking at grains pollen more closely, some interesting ornamental micros-architectures can be discovered. The Sneeze Project reveals these microscopic visualisations in order to engage the public through an incredible fusion of art and scientific process.

Through a collaboration with scientists, medics and patients, different sizes and types of pollen have been explored from their environment to the human one. The collection of pollen coming from trees, grasses, weeds and spores has been imaged through a scanning electron miscroscope.

The two types of pollen

To explain the phenomen happening when pollen grains invade the human body, a film drawing and sound installation has been created to understand the behaviours of pollen and roles of the body in this process. Susan Brisco has been working with a sound engineer in order to produce a sound-scape mixing the beautiful and the evil at the same time. From interviews of patients in collaboration with medics implementing new treatments, voices recorded of patients suffering from hay fever have been added to a micro- structure imagery fiml of grains to describe how pollen gets to people.

Coming mainly from trees and grass by the wind, the pollen can still be treated as a friend. Pollen is vital to help sustaining the plant world, because it contains the male coding for making new seeds. Moreover, pollen‘s micro-architectures are very unique and emanate a fascinating and intriguing splendour with ornamental Exine walls and elaborate features. But causing allergic reactions during the summer, pollen grains are often considered as a threat for the human. This is where Susan Brisco intervenes
presenting an incredible association between art and science to describe the beauty and the malevolence of pollen.

The pollen forecasting cycles

SNEEZE is a madework with scientists which presents some artworks, such as drawings, film and a sound piece of a symphony of pollen. This art-science project aims to highlight both the beauty and the malevolence of pollen. It is an interesting collaboration between science and arts to make a complex subject more accessible to a wider audience, giving the public a key to understand some micro-aspects of nature. Sharing and informing the audience about hay fever, this engaging project has so much more to offer, considering that it is still in its early stages of research, data collection and material thinking.

To hear more about the Sneeze Project and all its particularities, check out the Instagram account: the sneezeproject.

By Eva Payet.