Roselyn Fischer is an artist who had a curiosity regarding the way in which tears look like under the microscope. In order to satisfy her crave of knowing how do tears of joy and sadness look like when studied at a microscope lens, she observed 100 photos of tears.
Her study, called ‘A Topography of Tears’, included photographs of 100 tears both of joy and of sadness, under a standard light microscope.
Over a period of several years, she photographed hers and other people’s tears, trying to discover the similarities and differences between the tears we have when experiencing various feelings: joy, sadness, sorrow, rejection, frustration, yawning, laughing, birth and even tears from slicing up an onion.
I started the project about five years ago, during a period of copious tear, amid lots of change and loss – so I had a surplus of raw material, declared Roselyn to Joseph Stromberg of The Smithsonian’s Collage of Arts and Sciences blog.
Tears of grief. References: blogs.smithsonianmag.com
From a scientific point of view, there are 3 types of tears: basal tears – released continuously in very small quantities, keeping our eyes lubricated, reflex tears – released when the eyes are irritated by foreign agents, such as sand grains or onion vapors and psychic tears – when we experience different feelings, either positive, of joy or negative, of sadness. Chemists explain that the same emotional tears might crystalize in very different forms and shapes, due to slightly different circumstances.
Starting her experiment, she caught one of her tears, put it on a microscope slide, let it dry and then observed it through the lens of a microscope. The tears seemed like aerial views of emotional terrain, said the artist. They resembled erosion occurring on various old mountain ranges.
Roselyn got to the conclusion that the macro and micro realms are so alike. As an artist, she does not see only crystallized salt in the tears she had observed, but sees tears as the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger and as complex as a rite of passage (…) It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.
Laughing tears. Photo source: blogs.smithsonianmag.com
Let’s take a closer look at the pictures Roselyn Fischer used for her experiment, they are interesting to observe. Think about how different emotions imprint differently even on the tears we shed.
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