Carla Burns


This work was created for ‘Distill Life’, an exhibition of art about chemistry which took place at NUI Galway in November 2011 as part of Galway Science and Technology Week.

The work centers around chirality, which is a mathematical property of mirroring.  The word chirality derives from the Greek word for ‘hand’. Our hands are universally recognizable chiral structures because they are mirror images of each other; we cannot fit a left glove onto a right hand unless we turn it inside out.

This work is an animation of spearmint and caraway molecules. Spearmint and caraway have chiral structures, the exact same configuration of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms but in mirror image to each other.

I am interested in the ways that such mirroring may be understood in the context of varying knowledge systems. How do science and art mirror the world, and each other?

The audio track consists of me struggling to play a piece on the piano that I once knew.

The piece will be installed in the science section of Seán Kelly’s bookshop in Little Catherine Street.




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