This essay introduces two recent exhibitions and examines the origins of ArtScience in relation to the nineteenth century’s transition from representation to abstraction. While that progression was a seminal step in art history, the author proposes that a no less seismic impact resulted from its spatial reorientation – from expressions structured in pictorial imaginary space to those structured in actual, real space. That realignmnt echoed what science had been incrementally doing for four hundred years, by replacing fabricated comprehensions of reality with concrete ones – and in the process, shifting ontological and epistemological dispositions away from the supernatural and toward the natural.
Andy Thomas creates a visual fusion between Nature and Technology, by taking photos and sound recordings of flora and fauna and producing audio responsive animations that visually represent the subject matter in beautiful and abstract ways. By using 3D software to digitize nature, he creates familiar looking structures such as insects and plants that move in a rhythmical dance to corresponding sounds. His work seeks to explore ideas such as self similarity in nature and how evolution and technology co-exist on this planet we call Earth.
Hunter Cole creates Living Drawings with bioluminescent bacteria. These Living Drawings depict the cycle of life and death calling attention to our own mortality. She creates controlled line drawings using bioluminescent bacteria. The bacteria then grow on Petri dishes. Bacteria become collaborators in the art as it grows and dies. First appearing with bright light, bacteria in the drawing are photographed as it uses up available nutrients, gradually dying-off over a two-week period. She created a movie of bacterial drawings growing and dying with music based on protein sequence in the bacteria. Hunter Cole is also creating a new series called Living Light where people and objects are photographed by the light of bioluminescent bacteria. Her most recent series is called Bioluminescent Weddings where people are posed for wedding photographs by the light of bioluminescent bacteria. One of the functions of bioluminescence in nature is to attract a mate.
Asier Marzo works as a Research Assistant at Bristol University, UK. His research interests are to achieve individual acoustic manipulation of thousands of objects for tissue engineering or novel displays as well as to bring acoustic levitation to the general public.
As well as being a former academic in the field of politics, David Lewis-Baker is an experienced street photographer and an artist with a keen interest in the relationship between art and science. “As far as I am concerned, when working together, art can add wisdom to scientific knowledge, while science can add knowledge to artistic wisdom.”
“Betwixt brain and mind is a beguiling if bewildering masquerade. The interplay, between brain and mind, matter and metaphysics, our inner ‘self’ and our public visage, has been a recurring interest in my practice for over a decade.”
Karen Ingham is an interdisciplinary artist-designer and filmmaker, whose primary art form is lens-based arts and hybrid craft. Her approach incorporates theory and practice, and she often works site-specifically, with major themes exploring biomedical discourse and museology
Eran Gilat is a neuroscientist and avid fine art photographer. His scientific research focuses on the study of the mechanisms underlying epilepsy, as well as on the development of an innovative cure for this illness. His latest book, ‘Life Science’, reflects his long lasting confrontation with biological tissues, contemplating issues of materialism, erotica, and mortality, corresponding with the complicated and intriguing category of “animal reminder” in the visual arts.
Dr. Greg Dunn (artist and neuroscientist) and Dr. Brian Edwards (artist and applied physicist) created ‘Self Reflected’ to reveal the nature of human consciousness, bridging the connection between the mysterious three pound macroscopic brain and the microscopic behavior of neurons. ‘Self Reflected’ offers an unprecedented insight of the brain into itself, revealing through a technique called reflective microetching the enormous scope of beautiful and delicately balanced neural choreographies designed to reflect what is occurring in our own minds as we observe this work of art. The work was created to remind us that the most marvelous machine in the known universe is at the core of our being and is the root of our shared humanity.
In this exclusive interview, Greg Dunn discusses the ideas and work that went into creating ‘Self Reflected’.
Tor-Finn Malum Fitje is a Norwegian artist based in Stockholm, Sweden. His projects are typically manifested through narratives in video and sound, although textual production is likewise an evident aspect of this process. His activity borders scientific research, a position strongly reflected in the finished artworks. Questions regarding the nature of sensory and linguistic reproductions, of metaphors and cognition, of myth and physical theory, and of poetry and the natural sciences, are reoccurring subjects of interest.
Dr Simon F. Park is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Surrey, where he teaches Microbiology and Molecular Biology. For nearly 10 years now, he has also worked at the fertile intersection between art and science and here, his practice has been inspired by the aesthetics and processes of the usually invisible microbiological and chemical world. As well as collaborating with artists, he also produces his own work. ‘Crystal Worlds’ is an example.