Evolution presents a challenge of representation in that it surpasses human perception. The narrative models that dominate media, which cannot capture the slowness and complexity of such natural processes, further hinder our comprehension of evolutionary processes. In contrast, scientific literature has developed specific visual mechanisms to represent evolutionary phenomena.
This application proposes an artistic study on visual narratives of evolution, by studying and appropriating the devices and aesthetics of scientific evolutionary discourse. The outcome of this project will be a comic book that will explore diagrammatic forms in order to expand the possibilities of narrative signification. It is expected that this book will overall capture the trial, error and endless derivation that are characteristic of evolution. As its main subject, the book will consider human activity, such as economics and culture, as environmental agents that drive evolutionary change, thus creating a “new natural”. These interactions will be addressed through scenarios in which biota have been disrupted by human activity, or through wholly artificial environments where communities of organisms are able to thrive.
The comic book will be separated in chapters, which will integrate the different perceptual levels at which biological change occurs, from the molecular events that drive morphological development, to variations in the composition of populations of whole organisms that lead to speciation.
BIO: Having always been interested in both biology and comics, I graduated in Microbial and Genetic Biology at the Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon University. During this period, I was able to conciliate my undergraduate studies with comics making, having contributed to the faculty's student newspaper "improp" with a short series of comics pages, and having won the second place in a comics competition organized by the international comics festival of Amadora, "Amadora BD." This story was later published in the comics anthology Blazt. Soon after, I began my doctoral studies at the Telomere and Genome Stability Laboratory, under supervision of Miguel Godinho Ferreira. I dedicated myself fully to my research in telomere biology, having only collaborated sporadically with the in-house science communication group with some illustrations for internal publications and outreach activities. By the end of my PhD, I resumed my relationship with comics and founded an artists collective for comics making and reflection, Clube do Inferno. Since then, most of my comics work has been associated with projects or publications by Clube do Inferno. Soon after I completed my PhD, I became a post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon University, where I have been developing theoretical and practical research in comics, focused on the intersections of visual communication in biology and comics.