MRI scans as art?
November 8, 2007 9:36 AM   Subscribe

A number of years ago I had an MRI of my head to help explain sudden onset headaches I was experiencing. Thankfully, the problem went away, never to return, but I find myself in possession of a number of very nifty looking MRI negatives. So my question is, how to use them in an artistic manner?

The obvious solution is to use a viewbox but as I have a small apartment, I'm worried about the bright fluorescent lighting being obtrusive. The negatives are large (perhaps 1' x 1.5' or so) and I have 4 of them. I'd prefer to keep them intact, although I'm flexible. Also, the harsh medical nature of that kind of display might be a wee bit too creepy to work as decor.

Additionally, I have access to large format scanners and printers and while I know I can make a full size positive image from the negatives, I'm wondering what to do with the negatives themselves. I was thinking of possibly doing a kind of lampshade, but I'm not sure how to go about having one made.

Any ideas for a creative way to show off the inside of my noggin?
posted by mjbraun to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd make a positive image, blow the picture up to quite a large size, then cut it into smaller squares and arrange them (out of order) on the wall as a collection of black and white "abstract" art. That will at least reduce the squickiness factor.

Since negatives are flammable, I wouldn't advise you to have a lampshade made.
posted by LN at 10:03 AM on November 8, 2007

Response by poster: True about the flammability factor, although I don't believe it's a chemically processed negative (at least it doesn't feel like the ones I'm familiar with). But thin plastic sheeting isn't exactly the best for exposure to extreme temperatures regardless of the material.
posted by mjbraun at 12:01 PM on November 8, 2007

MRI negatives aren't real film, their print outs, yeah their as flamable as an overhead projector print out, but just use a CFL or an LED Bulb, neither give off much heat at all. I made a lampshade by stiching several MRI printouts together, and using the wire out of a goodwill lampshade.

you can also get plexiglas frames for them, and hang them in front of your window, and if you're really lucky and have tons of them, you should make curtains.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:26 PM on November 8, 2007

A friend of mine made a lampshade from a number of CT Scans, and it turned out really well. It made for a really cool lamp, a true conversation piece. The lampshade was really large for a tiny and low-watt lamp, but the light was enough to shine through. It was more of an art piece than a lamp, though, as the light didn't really go further than the lampshade. Like furnace.heart, she also used the wire from a goodwill lamp as the framework for creating the shade.
posted by gemmy at 4:07 PM on November 8, 2007

I'm an art student who could have gone into pathology or forensic anthropology. Body parts, human or otherwise, fascinate me.

[First words out of my mouth when I awoke after gall-bladder-removal surgery were, "Can I see it?" I saw it. It was rotten and beautiful.]

Is it possible that you can get your images on DVD? I recently had CT scans and sonography. I asked my GP if it was possible to get copies of "my" imagery. His office wrote a note/order for the lab to burn my images to disk. **wrings hands and grins**

Are you an artist-like creature who could be inspired by the images you have to make Another Thing entirely? Know anyone who could?

I have classmates with a similar problem. How to display transparencies/orthos in a viewer-accessible manner? If you go with the printouts, one could layer them between plexiglas/glass and suspend them or place them behind plexiglas/glass and set them against whatever-color wall. One could find a suitable-to-the-images frame structure and suspend them. The pictures can be stretched taut like a drumhead or like a cross stitcher's hoop and illuminated.

Still, most of the folks I've known have gone with pinning the images at the corners with unobtrusive nails or pins, with the transparencies/negatives pushed to the heads (away from the wall) and using clever spotlighting to make shadows upon the wall behind.

With scanning and digital manipulation, the possibilities are endless. One could do so many things on the computer mosheens, it boggles the mind(s). That is my intent with the images of my guts I'm about to receive.

How about a kaleidoscopic rotating lamp that projects your head onto the walls? How about a View-Master or stereographic card? How about a screensaver? How about accompanying any-of-the-above to music?

Enjoy your brain!
posted by bonobo at 7:39 PM on November 8, 2007

Seconding the lampshade idea. I have a set of these myself, and I have been meaning to make a lampshade for a long time. That's my brain!
posted by dammitjim at 9:08 PM on November 8, 2007

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