Artistic Synapses is a monthly series that shows a close relation of beauty merging Art with Science, delivering new ideas, emotions and new connections and synapses in our brain.- Míriam Martí
Flexibility is a property that can be found around and inside of us. Our muscles and our tendons are flexible allowing us to move but there is so much more than that. During an earthquake the most “powerful” buildings that remain intact are not only the ones with the best foundations but also the ones that are more flexible. It is also thanks to flexibility that many medical procedures can be performed in a less invasive or harmful way. The uses of bendable surgical tools, cardiac catheters, are a few examples. Flexibility is also around as in other fields such as sport and technology at large.
Erik Madigan Heck | Chris Henstridge
María Aparicio Puentes | Lynn Skordal
But let’s focus a little bit on “flexibility” as the third “surviving mechanism” that we see in ourselves or in nature. In the first collage, for example, we see brain cells, particularly, glia cells. These cells form a structure that has multiple functions and one is to hold together our neurons, they provide structure while offering certain flexibility.
In the second collage we see several structures that intuitively we can associate with flexibility. They certainly are… We see muscle fibers, connective tissue (as in the glia case, this tissue helps to give and keep structure in organisms) and red blood cells, which have certain capacity of being flexible to keep on travelling when our blood vessels get thin.
On the third collage our inspiration comes from “actin” which is a very important protein for our muscles that helps them to contract and relax.
Finally, let’s go to the macroworld and appreciate how the ramification pattern in plants grows in a secure and flexible way, able to adapt to the different structures it has on its surroundings. This is a common trait of Human respiratory and circulatory systems.
As always, nature brings food for thought. Maybe flexibility is not only a good option to keep solid structures, to move around or to distribute value materials but also could be a very important way to FEEL and THINK in new and free ways.