Arts-science is trendy. Last spring I visited an exhibition at one of my favourite galleries in London, the Wellcome Collection, Euston. The installation focused on the unseen ecology of deep sea organisms and it was part of a series of exhibitions on the theme of light. The exhibit combined scientific research with artistic visuals and sound design to reveal a world which was for many years unknown to scientists because it exists in total darkness. This was a scientific project in as much as the footage was collected by marine biologists, but the sounds which filled the room came from the imagination of artist Mariele Neudecker, who used audio sources as diverse as helicopters, heartbeats and classical music.
The Wellcome Collection shares many of the same sensibilities as ONCA, acknowledging that art and science can complement each other in making ecology more accessible to the public. At ONCA’s current exhibition, Lost & Found, arts-science organisation Pale Blue Dot have taken scientific research from Professor Dave Goulson’s lab at Sussex University, relating to bees and pesticides and presented these concepts in the form of bright, aesthetically engaging prints. The artists, Jane King and Neil Mabbs, have created art which not only makes scientific jargon accessible, but also seeks to reveal a great deal about the human psychology behind pesticide use and natural waste. These issues span human culture and natural ecology. Art and science should not be viewed as very distinct entities, because, in reality, they are incredibly similar disciplines; exploring, analysing, concluding, presenting evidence reflective of the world at your feet. Both have practice, methodology, require studios or labs. We are beginning to see more and more organisations probing arts-science connections, and I’m sure you’ll agree the results are truly beautiful.
Lost & Found closes 6pm this Saturday 19th September 2015.