In the throes of the H1N1 frenzy, it is perversely subversive to seek beauty in the microscopic actors at the center of the public health scares and tragedies of our times. That's exactly what artist Laura Splan has done—or did. A dusty Discover review of her "Doilies" project, which has resurfaced in the clamoring for public health information on the internet, describes the collection:
"Layers of stitches form delicate portraits of pathogens. The genetic material of the virus is depicted in the doily's center, and viral surface proteins appear as protuberances around the edge. The discs retain the dainty grace of an antique armrest cover. Splan says she aims to inspire 'beauty and horror, comfort and discomfort.'"
Here are Splan's beautiful and horrible doilies. In order of appearance: SARS, HIV, Herpes, and Influenza: