View on the office, lab, exhibition space of Micrograph Stories.



Maurice Mikkers
May 3, 2016 · 10 min read

Since the beginning of 2015 “Micrograph Stories” is looking for new ways of interacting with it’s audience. A lot of ideas, sketches and notes from that time where just dreams of what “Micrograph Stories” could be in the near future. Now a little over a year later, some of it’s dreams already became reality, and now there is one more awesome announcement I want to make.

“Micrograph Stories” now has thanks to TodaysArt it’s own pilot lab (lab, office and exhibition space). The pilot lab of “Micrograph Stories” can be found in side wing of the TodaysArt headquarters in The Hague.

TodaysArt is a network organisation specialised in the presentation and development of contemporary visual and performing arts and emerging culture. Since 2005 TodaysArt has brought local and international artists, thinkers and audiences together. TodaysArt is a trans-disciplinary platform for international talent, established creators and pioneers, exploring new possibilities and forms of expressions. Inspired by actual topics, TodaysArt aspires to promote and foster innovation, creativity and public interest for current developments within arts, culture and society. TodaysArt developed from a festival organisation to a wide platform committed to create an environment which facilitates new ideas.

What does this mean for “Micrograph Stories” ?
Since the idea and concept of “Micrograph Stories” got bigger then expected over the last year (especially with the project “Imaginarium of Tears”), it was time for the next step a Pilot lab. With this Pilot lab and a dedicated working space; new, current and future ideas and experiments can be further developed.

Imaginarium of Tears “Open” donation sessions:
As the title and introduction already gave away; This opportunity now gives “Imaginarium of Tears” the option to open up more towards it’s audience. From now on, you are able to book a session. In this session you can donate your unique tear with its matching unique story, and turn it into a unique work of art. Fulfilling the idea of creating; an ongoing photography tear collection with personal stories at its heart.

This donating session costs 125 euro. By doing this you will be supporting the project. Next to that it will give you the unique and exclusive opportunity, to turn your tear and your story in to an unique work of art.

At the end of the session you will receive a digital file of your crystalised tear with the specs of 2000 x 2000 pixels at 300 DPI. This should be sufficient to make a high quality print on photo-paper that is 20 x 20 centimeters. Larger prints are only available on request and are managed by Imaginarium of tears. You can find the prices and printing options here (Link to prices and options will follow soon)

You will receive your tear in a file format of 2.000 x 2.000 pixels at 300 dpi (for online viewing purposes I have made this image 16:9, the received files wil be square)

What steps will be conducted during a session?
Once you are at the “Micrograph Stories” Pilot Lab in The Hague we will go trough the following steps of the session;

  1. ) After the session is booked, a short and basic questionary will be send to you. This questionary will aks some basic information so I know a little bit more a bout you.

This questionary is also important to you, since this can maybe help in preparation of finding a way of crying. Since crying on command is difficult, and even more if you have to figure this out on the spot. Safe to say it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for this session. Next to that it will also give me an idea about the story you wan to share.

To keep te tears genuine and the stories interesting I will only accept emotional tears happy or sad, all tears of emotional value are welcome.

3.) After the introduction you will be given some personal time to get emotional, or time to tell your story. From experience differs from person to person, but since not everybody can cry so easy its good to take notice of the fact that it will often take some time. Some moments can be recalled genuinely but others are just more difficult.

While you are getting ready to share your stories and tears I will prepare the tools and materials to capture your tear when it rolls down your cheek.

4.) When your close to tearing up, I will ask you to notify me so I can assist you with collecting the tear drop with a micro pipet. Tears are collected as close as posable to the eye rolling down the cheek.

Please take in consideration that the different “fases of crying” are happening in small steps. First your eyes starte to tear up, then the area around the eyes get “wet”, you will often start to snivel. Often soon after you wil start tearing up and produce tears that will roll over the cheeks. For the project it’s important to at least have more then 2 good tear drops to create more small drops to examine.

5.) Between the collection period and the preparation of the tears to be imaged they are stored in a small 1.5 ml reaction tube (eppendorf cup).

6.) When there are enough tears collected in the reaction tube, its time to dispence them in to small drops of 1 to 5mm in diameter on a glas slide.

7.) The slide with the tear drops is now ready to be put underneath the microscope. Now we need to find one of the many drops on the slide to focus on. Once found we can focus and fine tune the microscope and camera settings, so we can start recording the crystallisation proces.

It’s time to wait until the tear drops start to crystallise, this proces can take up to 30 minutes depending on your physiology, the humidity and temperature. Below you can see one of my latest crystallisation of a tear drop in real time.

Movie showing the last part of the crystallisation proces where the crystals are formed.

8.) The crystalised tear is now ready to be imaged. But before we are going to image a “random” tear drop on the slide, we are going to find the most beautiful and statistically representative tear on the slide. This is done by scanning the slide though the microscope by eye, the best crystalised tears will be noted to later on select for imaging with the DIY microscope scanning stage.

10.) After the best tear drop is selected the imaging proces wil start. This proces can take up to 1h depending on the resolution and size of the tear drop. Which after the post proces will start that can also take up to 1h, to create its final form.

More information about the technical proces can be found back here.

11.) Once this imaging and post proces starts the session is almost ready. At this point I will ask you to pose, this so I can make a portrait of you as the volunteer / donator of the tear in the studio.

Sketch idea of the portrait studio session. (for online viewing purposes I have made this image 16:9, the received files wil be shot in portrait)

12.) The last step is to provide me with the needed details of your story, part of these questions are already answered with the questionary but some questions still need to be filled in at this moment since now you have shed / donated your tear.

The session is now ended, once the tear is fully processed and edited you will receive the digital file with its specs that are as described above.

Video impression:
Interested? Then please watch the small reportage / documentary of 5 minutes created by Deutsche Welle. This short explains the project, its process and the pilot lab itself.

German version can be found here:

What will be done with the data and images?
Tears and stories donated will be included into a possible future; exhibition, online “database” and book “Imaginarium of Tears — The beautiful secrets of tears, revealed by a microscope”. As for the portrait and questionary its still not sure in what way it wil be used or if and how it will be included in the project when it comes to the exhibition, online database or book.

Cover sketch of the book

Can I also send in my tears?
Unfortunately, its not posable at the moment to send in your tears. This is due the fact that tear fluids will degrade fast after you have shed your tears and are hard to preserve. At the moment I’m still figuring out ways to make this posable, till that time the only option is to donate at our pilot lab or during our exhibitions.

Just wanna come over to experience the artworks?
This is also posable, a few of the works are printed and framed and are displayed in the Pilot lab. So if you want to come over please drop me a line at;

The future plans of “Imaginarium of Tears”:
As mentioned in my previous post there are still a few things planed for the future of “Imaginarium of Tears” and some of these future wishes and plans are already realised:

  • Post card series (soon available online at
  • New microscope
  • DIY microscope scanning stage
  • A working space & lab
  • Traveling around the world with the imaginarium of Tears live experience and exhibition capturing tears and stories from other countries and cultures. In march 2016 I was part of the REUSE festival in Kuwait.

Next to that there are always things that are work in progress, and some are new dreams and ideas added to the list of the previous post. For a easy read I have combined and summarised these below.

Singapore Science Festival — End of July

The website still needs to be finished, currently its showing beautiful slowmotion footage that shows part of the proces.

In the near future I hope to also include a visual experience database of al the hidden stories and its unique tears. With print availabilities and a subscription from were you can book your own private session.

To get more consistently within the project of “Imaginarium of Tears” it would be good to have some new equipment. I would love to get my hands a lab incubator. This so we can figure out, if we can solve and answer the big questions related to the different forms and shapes of the crystalised tears. (for more detail I would again like to refer you to read this post)

The coming months will be focused on….
The idea of the pilot lab is to have more entry level space, where people can come over to experience and be part of the project. This will help to focus on different experiments and interactions too see how the project can evolve from this point on.

The different experiments and interactions I’m currently exploring are turning the tears captured with the microscope in to “data” from an image or movie. Trying to implement a more cross medial formats in to the project. Currently this is done by reasserting the possibilities of:

Turning images from 2D “space” in to a 3D “space”. These 3D renders of tears can then be used for new ideas such as: 3D printing or creating virtual worlds which can then be explored in virtual reality.

The other idea where I want to start working on is, to turn the video’s of crystallising tears in to “data” that can be used to create unique soundscapes. These soundscapes are created by the real time crystallisation process of the tears under a microscope. Important is to create soundscapes that are unique and data generated. These unique sounds can then support the video’s of the crystallisation proces.

More of these ideas and its results will follow soon in the next posts.

More information about the project:
Did you miss the previous blogs of “Imaginarium of Tears” ? Or do you want to know more about the project?

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