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  • Inês Rebelo:Tum Tum from Planet Lum
  • Inês Rebelo

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Tum Tum from Planet Lum, 52 X 67.7 in, 2006. Clockwise from the top: drawings by scientific illustrators Hazel Wilks, Juliet Beentje and Emmanuel Papadopolous.

© Inês Rebelo

The project explores the specificity of a scientific gaze. Tum Tum, the main character of the project, is a nonexistent specimen from an imaginary planet. I used the methodology of scientific descriptions of plants and insects, their morphology, and other technical conventions to describe it, and then gave the description to scientific illustrators as their only source material for a drawing of Tum Tum. In The Dream of Reason, depictions of the fictitious specimen drawn by Kew Gardens illustrators Hazel Wilks, Juliet Beentje and Emmanuel Papadopolous were displayed on an institutional black notice board.

Usually a scientific illustrator works with existing specimens, observing them with care and rigor. Instead, in my project, the idea of what the Tum Tum specimen looks like is created only through the description provided. The illustrators and the specificity of their gazes become the objects of analysis and enquiry. This project makes visible the layers of interpretation and subjectivity in the process of scientific representation. [End Page 15]

Inês Rebelo
London, U.K.
E-mail: <>


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p. 15
Launched on MUSE
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