Client: Dennis Lo
Location: Spokane, WA, United States
Completion date: 2022
Designer / Sculptor
Mike C Fields
Mike Fields Sculptures
CUSTOMIZED FOR DENNIS LO
Ribbon of Life #1/4 was customized for Dennis Lo, one of the world’s leading geneticists. Dennis discovered the presence of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal blood and has spearheaded the development of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). He has also seen the parallels between NIPT and cancer screening and pioneered the development of multi-cancer early detection tests. For his work, Dennis is a Royal Medal recipient and was awarded the Breakthrough in Life Sciences 2021, amongst other prestigious awards.
It was an honor and genuine pleasure for Fields to work closely with Dennis on this piece. Ribbon of Life marries two of Fields greatest passions – science and art.
In the same way that this piece is a marriage between art and science, it is also a marriage with technology.
Ribbon of Life is about capturing a feeling as much as a structure. The structure it seeks to represent holds near infinite potential as a basis for life and intelligence. But just importantly, Ribbon of Life seeks to capture the implicit and explicit beauty of DNA and life itself, in mesmerizing form.
Fields values quality of execution as much as he does quality of design. Both are necessary in his view to fully move the viewer. In order to ensure that the piece would not wobble or have any irregularities as it rotates, he had to combine numerous advanced technologies to achieve aerospace level accuracy of form. Substantial production challenges could have been avoided if Fields demand for perfection were not so high. The ribbons were created milled in one piece to ensure surface continuity and final overall conformity to the master CAD within 2 mm.
Even with advanced technology, Ribbon of Life, required hundreds of hours of hand work to create a flawless surface. Once achieved, Fields explored hundreds of different tints, tones and shades to find the perfect white to achieve the goals of his client – fresh, joyful, and ethereal. A specialized finish over the white allows it to absorb light, through subservice scattering, adding an even more otherworldly quality to how the piece plays with light.
A visual paradox of this piece is that it appears very simple, but hidden under the surface and hidden in its creation are numerous challenges, complexities, engineering, technology as well as qualitative qualities of Fields himself.
“Ribbon of Life” is a modern representation of the DNA Double Helix, which is at the basis of life. The Ribbon is extremely complex, with near infinite potential, yet is elegant in its design. The coupling of DNA marks a significant moment of creation. DNA is generative and therefore its ordered and infinitely diverse expression emerges through its cosmic relation. In full circle, it took the potential and actual of DNA to give rise to life that was sufficiently complex to perceive its surroundings, develop a sense for design and form, and construct advance technology to represent itself through artistic vision as Ribbon of Life.