MEDinART is a continuously growing global gallery of artists around the world that communicate through their art aspects of biomedical sciences. The main goals of this art-network are to connect medicine with arts, introduce bio-medical inspired art to the broader audience, highlight biomedical issues through different forms of art, bring together med-inspired artists and trigger scientists to communicate their research fields using creative and innovative ways.
Today, MEDinART features the work of more than 120 contemporary artists from all around the world. All those artists, following the spirit of the greatest anatomists in human history are inspired by medicine and biomedical sciences. They share the same vision and passion to understand human body in all of its range.
Interview with the creator and developer of MEDinART, Dr. Vasia Hatzi, a Geneticist with passion for art.
Vasia Hatzi stands between two different worlds: Science and Art. With a BSc in Genetics (University of Liverpool, UK), an MSc in Applied Genetics (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and a PhD in Cytogenetics (Medical School, Univeristy of Athens, Greece), scholarships and awards from international scientific conferences, she is continuously exploring the cellular world and investigates the mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Today she is working as a collaborate researcher in NCSR “Demokritos”, Athens, Greece. Outside the scientific laboratory she is exploring the intersection of science with arts communicating those aspects through the social media. Combining her knowledge from the field of cytogenetics with imagination, and aiming to communicate her science through a different path, she created LaB., a sophisticated, hybrid world of Biology and Art, where cellular structures of the microcosm are transformed into wearable creations. Vasia Hatzi created MEDinART network which was launched in a form of a video at the main stage of TEDMEDLive Athens 2013. Since then, MEDinART has been participated and co-organized numerous international science/art events.
AS A BIOMEDICAL SCIENTIST, DO YOU BELIEVE THAT ART AND SCIENCE CAN BE COMBINED?
Vasia Hatzi: Biomedical sciences are changing the way we interpret our world and our lives and give us the ability to understand and explain our existence. Art does the same but through different pathways. Both art and science are creative processes of human being that need imagination and passion to evolve. Scientist and artist -each one from its own laboratory- create a new world. In my opinion, the combination of science and art enhances the process of evolution and explores the boundaries and strength of our existence. Art and science are usually perceived as two opposing disciplines with very little overlap, but their collision can create something unusually balanced, beautiful and unexpected. The combination of art and science is a natural process for a person who is familiar with both fields. When art and science are merged they create a balanced unity, and everything makes sense again, but in a different way.
WHICH ASPECTS OF BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES YOU THINK CAN INSPIRE MOST THE ARTIST?
Vasia Hatzi: The Biomedical Laboratory is an excellent playground of inspiration. During the last decades several invention,s such as for example, the discovery of DNA structure in 1953, with its potential to cure diseases and to alter life forms through genetic engineering has triggered anyone’s attention. The molecular geometry and structure using various spectroscopic methods and diffraction methods have opened up new fields for research, not only for scientists but also for artists. Both scientists and artists became familiar with the unseen -with the naked eye- structures and forms. Biomedical laboratory imaging techniques like X-rays, CT scans, functional magnetic resonance imaging, scanning electron microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, imaging in molecular biology techniques, apart from their significance in diagnosis and research, have triggered artists to enter in to the Biology Laboratory. I believe that biomedical sciences provide to artists with a perfect playground, better that any other known science. Today artists are bringing science outside of the laboratory and biomedical scientists introduce art inside the laboratory. It is like a very well balanced and fascinating equilibrium.
WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL INFLUENCES OF ART AND SCIENCE AND HOW MEDinART WAS BORN?
Vasia Hatzi: The combination of Science with Arts, mainly result from my family. I have grown up in Athens of Greece, in a..“hybrid” environment influenced by both science and art. My father, John Hatzis, is a Professor Emeritus of Dermatology and my mother, Fotika Sikelioti, is a Ceramist and daughter of the famous Greek painter George Sikeliotis. Having being exposed both to Science and Art these two fields have catalytically influenced me in many ways. Our house was always filled up with works of art and interesting books, microscopes, ceramics and paintings. Even though my studies have oriented toward Biological Sciences, and the major stimulus arise from science, art was always my second nature. I don’t consider myself as an artist, but rather as a “hybrid” scientist. I just can’t neglect my passion in art, even in the most academic part of me. As an amateur artist, I find myself inspired by bio-medical sciences. And before some years ago, I have created a series of sophisticated jewelry, named LaB. (www.la-B.gr). At that time I started feeling myself connected with other bio-inspired artists, a connection that was growing by time. But then I realized that all these artists were somehow isolated from their artistic communities, exactly like scientists who usually work individually in a different laboratory. To my knowledge there was a lack of an established network of bio-inspired artists. So, I became more and more fascinated with the idea to create a global art-network with the goal to introduce these artists to the Art community, to trigger Biomedical scientist to communicate their science through arts and to inspire and familiarize the broader audience with a –not so popular- (at least in Greece) form of art. And this is how MEDinART was born.
HOW MANY ARTISTS ARE INCLUDED TODAY IN MEDinART?
Vasia Hatzi: MEDinART today, features the work of more than 120 artists inspired by bio-medical sciences, from more than 32 countries around the world. Those artistshonored me either by their permission or by their submission to include their artworks in the global gallery of MEDinART, since I find it highly essential to follow with great care the rules of intellectual property. It’s also worth mentioning that all the uploaded artwork has been chosen mainly from the artists. MEDinART is not like a blog but more like a permanent collection of contemporary artists who select their representative art-works, like it would happen in a fine art exhibition… in vivo.
WHAT ABOUT MEDinART ARTISTS? WHAT KIND OF ART FORMS THEY COVER?
Vasia Hatzi: The artists whose work is featured in MEDinART cover more than 30 different art forms (e.g. visual art, photography, sculpture, painting, installation, collage, illustration and drawing, fashion, street art, architecture, industrial design, textile, animation, biomusic, conceptual art and any other form of art inspired by biomedical sciences.), and they are inspired from more than 25 biomedical fields (e.g. anatomy, physiology, surgery, gynecology, dermatology, biology, microbiology, genetics, molecular biology and others). In MEDinART one can explore the work of distinguished artists whose work has been awarded or included in National galleries and museums around the world. Some of them teach in the universities, while others are both artists and scientists. It would not be easy to make a reference to all the names of those artists. It would be also unfair to mention only some of them. In the MEDinART webpage (www.medinart.eu), which was very nicely set up by Elina Vaki and Christina Dalla, you can explore every artist’s art-world and find more details about their CV and their inspirations. Moreover, you can quickly explore MEDinART, at the MEDinART video that was created in collaboration with Costis Economides and Elli Pavloudi of ONTIME Productions.
WHICH IS YOUR VISION FOR MEDinART?
Vasia Hatzi: The vision of MEDinART is to give to the artists a new subject of inspiration, to familiarize bio-medical scientists with different forms of art relevant to their scientific subject and to educate the general public. It is essential to emerge to the public bio- and med- inspired art in all its breadth, and also to highlight new ways to approach science. MEDinART is a unique and innovative concept that aims to provide the opportunity to medicine-inspired artists to participate in a global network but also to trigger biomedical scientists to find more inspiring ways to communicate their scientific issues through the arts. In MEDinART, we welcome submissions in the realm of visual art, photography, sculpture, painting, installation, collage, illustration and drawing, fashion, street art, architecture, industrial design, textile, animation, music, conceptual art and anything else involving a strong audiovisual aspect. Moreover, since MEDinART aims to be an interactive place, the feedback from the visitors is also essential for its growth. All the comments, questions and recommendations from the visitors are more than welcome. Also, apart from the biomedical-inspired artists’ works, we would appreciate any suggestions, relevant references, such as Medicine and Art Museums, Books, Exhibitions, Universities and any other information, relevant to biomedical inspired art.
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