Unfolding the Genome: Seeing Art and Science in Research

Guhapriya (Gupi) Ranganathan and Erez Lieberman Aiden

Unfolding: Installation at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Text for the entrance to the main Broad building (7CC) glass atrium niche

120 Drawings (120 of Infinite Possibilities), copyright Gupi Ranganathan 2006-2012

Artist-in-residence Guhapriya Ranganathan explores the concept of "unfolding" in its various forms: as life unfolds, as the genome unfolds to interact and give instruction, and as scientific discovery unfolds at the Broad Institute, through the collaborative work of researchers.

In Unfolding, Ranganathan uses the concept of the Hilbert curve (a mathematical analysis of a continuous fractal space-filling curve) to create her work. She starts with simple bold lines on 120 small square panels - like a collection of animation movie stills – and plays with infinite possibilities of the curve as it unfolds.

She then paints more complex structures, building layers of lines to represent the layers of complexity at the Broad. The end result is a synthesis of highly energetic large-scale paintings.

Unfolding spans four Broad buildings and includes drawings, paintings, prints, mixed media artworks, wood blocks, a dynamic video installation, and suspended wire sculpture.

This exhibit is part of the Broad Institute’s ongoing efforts to explore the intersection of art and science. Ranganathan worked closely with a number of Broad scientists during her tenure here, in particular with Erez Lieberman Aiden, Catherine Luce, Dawn Thompson, and Sarah Calvo.

Unfolding Project Presentation (2011)

Todd Golub, Erez Lieberman Aiden and Gupi Ranganathan

Broad Creative Kickoff Interview

About the residency experience and the Unfolding project

Broad @15 - Gallery Talk (2020)

How the Broad Residency and Unfolding project influenced my work