100 Days of Something: 15

Each morning I walk through a small park near our apartment that stretches alongside the facilities of a large pharmaceutical concern. This morning it occurred to me that their logo, a five pointed star, might in fact relate to the starfish.

In the 1880s the Russian zoologist Élie Metchnikoff conducted an experiment in which he placed thorns into starfish larvae. Certain cells, the presence of which he had been puzzled by, congregated around these intrusions, and these observations led to the development of a defensive model of immunity. “Cell Wars”. A recent article on Aeon traces the history of this model and argues for a disarming of the military metaphor of the body as a battleground.

The company, whose logo includes lettering by Victor Vasarely, mentions nothing of this. The red starfish logo adorns some quite monolithic buildings in a fenced off facility covering a large part of the block. Not the most welcoming presence, but perhaps fitting given the defensive metaphor on which this approach to medicine is typically based. At some point the expansive facilities will probably become too expensive given their proximity to the city, and they too will eventually be ejected.

100 Days of Something: 15 “Starfish” #The100DayProject rdgr.me/u/10djdzo

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Rudiger Meyer is a composer interested in the play between traditional concert music and new media.

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