Diaphonization – Dyeing the Dead by Arun Kuppuswamy Mohanraj
My pandemic project, Diaphonization, is the art of clearing and staining subjects – a process which can take many months. After ethically sourcing the dead subjects, I dehydrated them in 95% ethanol to harden the bones and cartilages inside. The process then involves using special stains such as alizarin red and alcian blue to stain the bones (red) and cartilages (blue). Later, the subjects were immersed in a soup of trypsin (natural enzyme), which digests most of the tissues and renders them transparent – leaving the stained bone and cartilage behind.. The process is painstakingly long and any minor mistake at any stage can fail the whole process. The final step is to place the subject in glycerine, which provides the right refractive index, taking multiple shots and stacking them to create a single image.