Collecting tears from volunteers

| Michaela Nesvarova

The creator of ‘Imaginarium of Tears’, Maurice Mikkers, is at the UT today, capturing more tears for his collection and strengthening the collaboration with local researchers.

Photo by: Maurice Mikkers

Imaginarium of Tears is a photography collection of human tears, meant to showcase the beauty and uniqueness of our tears by photographing them under a microscope. Maurice Mikkers has given a talk in the DesignLab and will spend the afternoon with local researchers, exchanging ideas and collecting tears from volunteers.

Mikkers was invited by UT researcher Alvaro Marin from the Physics of Fluids group. Marin uses the tears collection for his research and wishes to encourage more collaboration among scientists and artists. ‘The images are perfect for illustrating my research on drying droplets,’ says Marin. ‘Each tear is different, but each one has a thicker ring on its border. This is a unique phenomenon and my research aims to explain why that ring is always there.’

 ‘People get attracted by the image and science can explain its meaning’

Marin hopes that the artist’s presence at the campus will lead to a bigger cooperation. ‘We’d like to bring more artists into scientific environment - and the other way around. By using art and visualizing your work, you can make your research much more accessible. That is a big advantage for a scientist. People get attracted by the image and science can explain its meaning.’

There are similar benefits for artists, thinks Mikkers: ‘If you get scientists involved in your work, you can go much further, deepen your concepts and get a much better understanding of what you are doing. Actually, what I do in my studio is not that different from what researchers do in the lab here. My dream would be to set up a lab where both sides collaborate.’ Marin and Mikkers are taking the first steps towards this dream. They’d soon like to organize an interdisciplinary symposium to merge art and science.

Imaginarium of Tears

Imaginarium of Tears is an ongoing project that was started in 2015 by Maurice Mikkers, who used to work as a microbiologist and a lab technician. The collection currently includes hundreds of tears, each one carrying a unique story. Besides photos, Mikkers also produces 3D prints of people’s tears or even VR experiences, which – as he says - allow you to ‘walk through your own valley of tears’.