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Drishti helps PhD candidate take out top prize

NCI VizLab’s visualisation software, Drishti, has helped ANU School of Art PhD candidate, Erica Seccombe, win the inaugural Paramor Prize for Art and Innovation in Sydney.

VIRTUAL LIFE by Erica Seccombe is permanently on display at  the Casula Power House in Sydney.

VIRTUAL LIFE by Erica Seccombe is permanently on display at the Casula Power House in Sydney. Image: Stuart Hay

The piece, VIRTUAL LIFE, is the result of Seccombe’s use of the frontier science of 3D Microcomputed X-ray Tomography (XCT) at the ANU Department of Applied Mathematics and the Drishti software.

Drishti, designed by Dr Ajay Limaye and the NCI VizLab team, is a free, open source software that allows researchers to explore and present their datasets as images and animations.

The software can be used to explore any volumetric dataset, from the world’s smallest insects to topographic maps of the Australian continent. Drishti is used all over the world, including by the London Natural History Museum and the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart.

Seccombe uses it to capture the dynamic phenomena germinating seeds as they transform from embryo to first leaf.

“I have printed this work onto a highly mirrored surface to best represent the beautiful translucency of X-ray in combination with the three-dimensional qualities of ‘virtual’ data,” she said.

“Volumetric data acquired from 3D and 4D Micro-CT is not visualised with conventional mesh framing as used in computer generated imaging.

“The true virtual data can only be rendered in specialised volumetric exploration software to accurately represent the original organic material at a resolution of two microns.”  

PhD student Erica Seccombe.

PhD student Erica Seccombe.

Seccombe says VIRTUAL LIFE explores how science and art can engage us with the natural world through processes of rational observation and subjective experience.

“It reflects a techno-scientific culture where our relationship with nature and our experience of the natural world is increasingly mediated through technology,” she said.

Erica has previously worked with NCI’s VizLab team to reveal unseen details of the garden slater for an exhibition at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

More information about VIRTUAL LIFE by Erica Seccombe: http://soa.anu.edu.au/newsstory/art-phd-student-wins-20k-art-prize

See more of Erica’s work on her website: http://www.ericaseccombe.com.au/

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