Deirdre Dyson has always looked at the natural world for inspiration. How far can we actually go beyond the surface of nature for new ideas? As far as a cell?
But before we might even attempt to do that, we could start by rediscovering and understanding our relationship with our oldest, tiniest enemies.
With Covid-19 on the forefront of everyone’s minds and lips, it certainly has encouraged us all to think and live microscopically, as our working and private environments becoming more concentrated and restricted; life and freedom itself has had its boundaries substantially reduced.
The battle between viruses and cells goes back over 4 billion years of evolution. Cousins at heart, whilst enemies at play, the game of conquest continues. Not too far from science fiction, opportunistic viruses attack healthy cells with the sole aim to replicate and take control of the host.
For centuries the complexity of life and the universe has captivated the human imagination and study and created a science around the subject in order to understand it better and to create positive interventions in order to survive within it.
Looking at the bigger picture, the universe, our solar system, planetary forms and the patterns of galaxies far and beyond all replicate down to within microns of a single cell. It’s an amazing mirroring that follows through existence and in every living thing, whether animal or plant.
The human body is made up of 120 trillion cells all coexisting to create a unique life force-a living, breathing, thinking human.
Our immune system has developed over millions of years in the form of protective proteins cells. These white blood cells are the guardians of our bodies’ immune system all working in unison by instruction from our unique DNA, found at the core of each and every cell; within the Nucleus.
Every time our bodies come under attack from a virus, our defence system is kicked into gear by our cells, each one connected to the other and sending warning signals to pull up the appropriate antibody. Our personal record and library of virus attack is stored in the bone marrow and our bodies can recognise a virus through this library, knowing exactly which antibody to use in order to attack the virus.
Viruses are around us all the time, in the air, on every surface. They have co-evolved alongside cells and are made up of the remnant parts of our own cells, hence they are equipped to attack us in the most efficient and deceitful way.
Unfortunately, we do not have antibodies for every single virus, as we are only ever exposed to a fraction of viruses in existence. Hence, we rely on science and medical intervention when a new virus, particularly a Zoonotic virus transfers from animal to human.
The irony of it all is that this battle continues for one reason only; in order to shape us for our own survival as we continue to evolve and exist within this vast and complex mix of everything, that is both good, bad, near, far and within.
Can you spot the odd one out? One of these images is an actual Deirdre Dyson carpet design and isn’t a virus structure at all, perfectly illustrating how replication is in everything around us.
Please email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hint: The answer can be found on our website.
One lucky entry will be selected at random from all correct answers received and will be sent a “Walking on Art’” book by Deirdre Dyson (rrp £38), published by Thames and Hudson in order to keep you #INspired during lockdown.
All entries must be received by the 28th May, 2020 and the winner will be announced along with the correct answer on the 1st June, 2020.