Paul Cocksedge

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The arms light up to the rhythm of human breath cycles

words Anna Bates

Neon veins and arteries mysteriously appear and disappear from two 11m-long arms stretching across the front of the Wellcome Trust on Euston Road, London, by local designer Paul Cocksedge.

Illustrators copied scans to get an exact map of where arteries and veins lie in the arm, and neon glassworkers then translated this into 3D. A current is intermittently passed through an electronic sheet, changing its transparency. If the sheet is live it becomes an opaque flesh colour, obscuring the blood vessels, and when the sheet is neutral, “it’s like the skin evaporates away,” says Cocksedge, revealing a “neon x-ray” of the arm.

The piece was designed to make passers-by think about the work of the Wellcome Trust charity. “When you’re walking along the road, you’re not usually thinking about what’s going on under your skin,” he says. “I wanted to make people stop.”

image Richard Brine

The arms light up to the rhythm of human breath cycles
The arms light up to the rhythm of human breath cycles

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