Unraveling is a series of single-channel video loops. The animations were created with SARS-CoV-2 protein structures in molecular visualization software. Using the specialized features of the software in unconventional ways, Laura Splan unravels and distorts the folded structure of the coronavirus spike protein. She playfully manipulates the folded protein forms, known as “conformations”, which determine biological function including infectivity. After morphing the unraveled proteins with their original conformations, she then further processes the animations using other video editing tools. The colors in each video were chosen from the software’s palette that includes references to nature such as plants, animals, and chemical elements. The video titles echo the colors’ names that are entangled with idyllic representations of the natural world such as blue skies, green forests, fruit and flowers. The series presents a mesmerizing meditation on increasing entanglements between natural and constructed worlds.
Unraveling was developed in remote collaboration with biotech company Integral Molecular for her uCity Science Center Bioart Residency while “sheltering in place” for COVID-19. Project support was provided by The Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation.