The Topography of Tears

The Topography of Tears is a study of 100 tears photographed through a light microscope, magnified 100x or 400x. The project began in a period of personal change, loss, and copious tears. One day I wondered if my tears of grief would look any different from my tears of happiness - and I set out to explore them up close, using tools of science to make art and to ponder personal and aesthetic questions.

Years later, this series comprises a wide range of my own and others’ tears, from elation to onions, as well as sorrow, frustration, rejection, resolution, laughing, yawning, birth and rebirth, and many more, each a tiny history.

The random compositions I find in magnified tears often evoke a sense of place, like aerial views of emotional terrain. Although the empirical nature of tears is a chemistry of water, proteins, minerals, hormones, antibodies and enzymes, the topography of tears is a momentary landscape, transient as the fingerprint of someone in a dream. This series is like an ephemeral atlas.

Roaming microscopic vistas, I marvel at the visual similarities between micro and macro realms, how the patterning of nature seems so consistent, regardless of scale. Patterns of erosion etched into earth over millions of years may look quite similar to the branched crystalline patterns of an evaporated tear that took less than a minute to occur.

Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage. They are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Wordless and spontaneous, they release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis: shedding tears, shedding old skin. It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.

ps:
I’m pleased if my artwork has something to add to a larger conversation, and if public interest helps motivate scientific inquiry that ultimately leads to deeper insight about the language and content of our tears. Then it's the best meeting of art and science. I'm not making any scientific claims in my work though, nor any declarations about anything except perhaps the poetry of life.

© Rose-Lynn Fisher 2013-2014


contact:
RLFisher.mail@gmail.com

 

Links to Selected Press
Online, Print & Blogs:


Die Welt (Germany)

Polka Magazine (France)

Wired

The New Yorker

Smithsonian Magazine

Harper's Magazine

Studio 360

De Redactie (Belgium)

National Geographic Kids:
Weird But True

La/crime/ndays, by G.Iorio

Zeit Wissen Magazine (Germany)

National Geographic (Hungary)

In Vivo Magazine (Switzerland)

Esquire, Russia

Design Observer

Juxtapoz

The Guardian (UK)

The Telegraph (UK)

Metro World News

Metro Nieuws (NL)

YLE News (Finland)

Garbo (Romania)

O Globo (Brazil)

Welt der Wunder (Germany)

Illustreret Videnskab /Science Illustrated (Scandinavia)

Medical Daily

Ignite Channel

The Paris Review

Milano Free (Italy)

Galileo (Italy)

Caffeinamagazine (Italy)

Spaghetti Mag. (Italy)

Dazed

PBS Nova blog

MSNBC Maddow blog/Geek

Popular Science blog

Scientific American blog

The Daily Meal

Times of Malta

Complex

io9

Lost at E Minor

PetaPixel

Refinery29

Design Catwalk

La boite verte (France)

Linkiesta (Italy)

Lifo (Greece)

20 Minutos (Spain)

ABC (Spain)

Dan Tri (Vietnam)

La Nacion (Argentina)

YCWB (China)

The Good Men Project

Neatorama

Geekologie

Kindred Subjects

John Culbert - Geometry of tears

 

 

The Topography of Tears

images and text © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher all rights reserved

Medium: Archival pigment on museum rag


Tears of laughing till I'm crying © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Tears of change © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Tears of grief © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Onion tears © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Watering eyes: a micro climate © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Tears of timeless reunion © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Tears of ending and beginning © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Tears for those who yearn for liberation © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Tears of release © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Tears of possibility and hope © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Tears of elation at a liminal moment © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher


Tears of remembrance © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

As a book of these images takes shape, please let me know of your interest by emailing a quick note to topographyoftears@gmail.com

Many thanks and best wishes from Rose-Lynn