CSM X CMS: Entangled | 14 – 17 June | MA Art and Science 2017
CSM X CMS: Entangled
DATES: Wed 14 – Sat 17 June 2017
LOCATION: Four Corners Gallery, London, 121 Roman Road, E2 0QN, Bethnal Green
OPENING TIMES: Wed to Sat | 10.00 – 18.00
PRIVATE VIEW: Thurs 15 June | 18.00 – 20.30
Placing themselves firmly at the centre of contemporary Art and Science discourse, nineteen artists from Central Saint Martins respond to their December 2016 visit to CERN and the CMS detector in their exhibition at Four Corners Gallery, London, June 14-17, 2017. The striking array of work confirms that when creative minds grasp universal concepts, at the core of our material understanding of the universe, you can expect the unexpected.
About the Exhibition
Sculpture, film, printmaking, sound and art installations are just some of the outcomes from reflections on their surprising discoveries from the trip, including a rare look at the inside of the CMS detector experiment, particles in cloud chambers that may help us understand climate change, and the baffling quantity and randomness of data produced to confirm minute particle reactions.
Additionally, there is the memorable impression of the deeper social context of the institution itself. Often in parallel with what drives artists, scientists are striving to grasp the unknown and offer their discoveries to humanity in an ethos of sharing and openness. Artists recognise the exhilaration of new perspectives relating to what we are made of and, also seek to make fresh connections and intuitive leaps in understanding.
In preparation for the exhibition, between 8-11 May a number of the artists returned to CERN for further research and collaboration with the physicists. During the exhibition workshops, artist talks and other activities will take place in the gallery space. We are grateful to CMS and art@cms for making our visits possible.
Allison Barclay-Michaels, Stephen Bennett, Joshua Bourke, Amy Knight, Reggy Liu, Maria Macc, Fiona Morf, Jill Mueller, Priya Odedra, Helen O’Donoghue, Yun Peng, Lisa Pettibone, Heather Scott, Hannah Scott, Nicolas Strappini, Olga Suchanova, Bekk Wells, Victoria Westerman and guest artist Andy Charalambous (CSM lecturer and CERN consultant in association with Imperial College, London)
Words and images by Neus Torres Tamarit, Nicolas Strappini, Stephen Bennett, Heather Scott, Hazel Chiang; edited by Stephen Bennett
April 2017 saw a collaboration between MA Art and Science and Imperial College, at the Centre for Doctoral Training Festival of Science and Art. Several artists from the course exhibited their works at the college, an interactive data visualisation was conducted, and other students engaged in the lively debate and discussion during the event’s seminars and lectures.
The Centres emphasise cross-disciplinary collaboration at their heart. Specific Centres focus on issues which do not have an obvious home in existing academic institutions or infrastructures, and include ‘Advanced Characterisation of Materials’, ‘Mathematics of Planet Earth’ and ‘Controlled Quantum Dynamics’.
The Centres are natural partners for Central Saint Martin’s MA Art and Science. The MA course also has cross-disciplinary collaboration at its core. For example, Neus Torres Tamarit is an artist with 10 years of experience exhibiting work at the national and international level. Ben Murray has 20 years’ experience including working in bioinformatics and genomics. The two collaborated to produce work which explores the idea that an organism is limited by the success of the mutations of its ancestors. Confined Mutations, on display at the Festival, shows three abstract entities that progress through a sequence of changes, eventually looping around to beginning. The forms are trapped in an endless cycle, representing evolved features that constrain future structural mutations and cannot be undone.
The project has resulted from a creative process involving risk taking, failure and uncertainty, with both the creators’ disciplinary backgrounds shaping the work at key points. Neus developed certain aesthetic forms through object oriented programing in Java code. Ben modified the code to create different shapes using random seeds. Neus then saw a strong connection between the shape and the diagram about the recurring laryngeal nerve in mammals that has evolved from fish, which, because of adaptation, has become entangled with the system of arteries.
Nicolas Strappini produced work for the festival which explores the importance of creative processes in both art and science. He has investigated the use of electricity as an artistic tool, using a Wimshurst machine to charge up plastic surfaces with electricity then dusting toner powders on the surface. Through this, Nicolas has visualised the invisible Lichtenberg figures left in the plastics: the works are direct visual representations of electricity. Nicolas used the festival to engage with scientists about the processes at play in his work. For example, MRes student Jeevan Soor helped Nicolas discover how James Maxwell’s equations describe Lichtenberg figures. Nicolas also learnt more about how the toner dusting method he has used to make artworks is also used in forensic science. Not dissimilar to Nicolas’ process for the Festival, forensic scientists use a device that generates static charge, and the charge draws the dust from the print on to the black plastic.
Stephen Bennett took the concept of engagement and collaboration a step further. He presented an empty grid, showing only 10 degree intervals of longitude and latitude. He then asked Festival attendees at the Imperial Science Festival “Where are you from?” Upon deciding their answer, participants took a transparent red square and affixed it to a grid map of the world. Thus, the scientists at the festival were the people who created the artwork.
“But I don’t know where I am from!” – attendee at the Festival
As well as exploring questions of authorship and collaboration, the exercise probed at questions relating to identity, maps and statistics. One student mused “I was born in Mumbai, but feel British” – where do I stick the square? A Chinese student assumed that the large cluster of dots in the middle of the map represented China, on the basis that “whenever I see a map of the world China is in the middle of it”. Her partner, from South Carolina, argued that the centre of the map was more likely to represent Britain. Another lady, from Cyprus, put her sticker in the far bottom right (near the coordinates for Australia), initially thinking the map showed Europe. Some individuals deliberately disrupted the data. One placed about seven of the transparent squares on China “to make it redder”. Another placed three stickers, representing three parts of the world he had spent time in during his early years (Chile, UK and the Middle East).
Interaction was also at the heart of Heather Scott’s installation for the Festival. The piece explored what is happening inside and beyond a Kerr-Newman solution to a black hole. Using spheres to house these manifestations, like the energy built up inside a black hole and dimensions cracking into ours, it creates an interactive piece where the viewer can walk around, see into and watch these different aspects. As with Stephen and Nicolas, Heather also used the opportunity to meet with scientists, some of whom worked on issues related to black holes. Heather asked audience about their own views on what is inside or beyond a black hole. She knew from previous experience that everyone appears to have very differing opinions. The Festival provided an opportunity to find out what scientists thought, why they have that idea, and exchanging what Heather has learnt about the different possibilities through her artistic practice.
Hazel Chiang uses art to push at the boundaries of what science can really tell us, and when science may break down. She based her work on the “liar paradox” (“this sentence is false”) which indicates the formal logic system may break down work when things are self-referential. The arrow in Hazel’s piece, shown below, can never reach its target since the target and bowstring are the same thing. As science is based on logic, limitations will show when trying to examine the system itself. However, we can spot this error because our mind is more than this tool. Hazel’s postulation is that the reality and the language of science might not fit as we always assume.
MA Art and Science Pathway Leader, Heather Barnett, also exhibited work from The Physarum Experiments, an ongoing ‘collaboration’ with an intelligent slime mould.
If you are inspired by these art and science collaborations, please follow us on Twitter or Instagram, share this blog and come and see our work! There are some good opportunities to see our work in forthcoming exhibitions:
- The MA Art and Science 2017 degree show, Third Matter, takes place between Wed 24 – Sun 28 May at 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA (third floor). The opening times are Wed to Fri 12.00 – 20.00 | Sat to Sun 12.00 – 18.00.
- CSM × CMS: Entangled, a show about MA Art and Science’s collaboration with CERN particle physics laboratory, takes place from June 14-17, 2017 at the Four Corners Gallery in London. Opening times are 10:00-6:00pm.
- MA Art and Students are in the middle of a residency at THECUBE London, focused on Embodiment and Emotion. Attend one of the Em-Em events, visible here, to meet some interesting speakers and see their art.
Central Saint Martins’ graduates showcase innovative and thought-provoking work from the interdisciplinary MA Art and Science programme.
DATES | Wed 24th – Sun 28th May 2017
LOCATION | Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, 3rd Floor,
1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA, United Kingdom
OPENING TIMES | Wed to Fri 12.00 – 20.00 | Sat to Sun 12.00 – 18.00
THIRD MATTER, this year’s MA Art and Science graduates at Central Saint Martins, present a stimulating event showcasing their unique insight into contemporary issues. With an eclectic mix of backgrounds, and inspired by their individual connections with the evolving area of art and science, works are responding to diverse topics including: Consciousness through sound; non-verbal communication across dimensions; alienation and reclaiming the self, to nostalgia and memory provoked by smell. The body is investigated through the tropes of scientific enquiry and models of A.I. and considerations of genetics and evolutionary pressure. The effects of how we co-habit with the landscape and nature are explored through themes of Anthropocene, pollution and interfaces of synthetic and organic matter and questions relating to the evidence of ‘being’ are raised from visualizing particle energy release to the existence of black-holes.
Provocative, challenging and engaging, the exhibition will include works developed from research undertaken by private enquiry and through collaborations with scientists. With student backgrounds spanning electro-engineering, fine art, film production, graphic design, photography to psychology, the creative relationships between art and science are explored in an individual approach expressed by a diverse range of media.
Agnese Basova | Josh Chow | Monika Dorniak | Michelle von Mandel | Maria McCullough (Macc) | Juan Perez | Leon Radschinski-Gorman | Virginie Serneels | Iting Shih | Hannah Scott | Heather Scott | Nicolas Strappini | Neus Torres Tamarit | Yu-Ji
THIRD MATTER ACTION DAY
Saturday 27 May, 14:00 – 17:00. The exhibition is accompanied by an afternoon of performances, demonstrations and conversations.
Free event but please book to reserve a place here
How Central St Martins took over the Tate for a week to engage with the public on art, science, education and politics
Jewellery evoking the most isolated inhabited place on the planet. A collectively constructed oversize data visualisation of climate change affecting the Indus Valley. A giant pinhole camera capturing the Shard. A wall comprised solely of doodles. Therapy. Experiments measuring the heartbeats and brainwaves of individuals engaging in various activities. Collages created by solar light.
Where can you see all of this under one roof? A science lab? A toyshop? The library of a medical research institution? NASA?!
”Liberate yourself from your dearest objects” – Çağlar Tahiroğlu
Actually the usual answer is the studio of Central Saint Martin’s MA Art and Science programme. Here, on a given day, you will find students using embroidery thread to measure perceptions of identity, making solar prints, carving marble (and measuring their heartbeat as they do so), using cola cans to produce long exposures of the sun’s trajectory through winter. However, except for one day a year, the studio is the preserve of the students and tutors involved in the course, and not ordinarily open to the public.
But for the week of 9th January this all changed. Central Saint Martins brought the studio out of the university and into the public in the week long event ‘THIS IS AN ART SCHOOL’. And what more public setting than the fifth floor of the Tate’s new Switch House building, overlooking the Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral, a sizeable number of luxury new flats, and, well, half of London.
Indeed it seemed like half of London came out to join us. Perhaps persuaded by press coverage in the Guardian, Evening Standard and Channel 4 News, waves of visitors descended on the Tate Exchange, the Tate’s space ‘for everyone to collaborate, test ideas and discover new perspectives on life, through art’.
As a result, Olga Suchanova guided 448 people through her camera obscura, the same basic device used by Aristotle, da Vinci and Vermeer to observe the world (and nowadays used for such diverse purposes as astronomy, art, medicine and high-energy physics). Enthusiastic viewers included teachers who are inspired to build a camera obscura in their school playground, and visitors who now want to open their own version as an art gallery.
The camera obscura worked better on sunny days, and solar radiation also played a key role in Lisa Pettibone’s homemade photographic prints. ‘Students’ (curious members of the public) created collages on special photosensitive paper, using materials such as sand, glitter, foil, string and hair clips. Collages were then placed next to the Tate’s large windows to expose, and after 20 minutes would bear an elaborate series of negative shapes flattened onto a pictorial surface.
“It wasn’t the creativity or kind of zen order that surprised me most about the Tate art school. It was the crackling atmosphere that permeated the experimental thrust of it all” – Lisa Pettibone
Audience participation underpinned a number of the ‘lessons’ taking place in THIS IS AN ART SCHOOL. Tere Chadwick’s interactive events included a talk on books about Easter Island, an origami-packaging workshop, and a weeklong display of 21 goldsmith pieces based on Easter Island culture and archaeology. UNESCO has declared this Polynesian culture a World Heritage site for its uniqueness in being the most isolated inhabited place in the planet. Tere had political messages in her work. On the one hand, she considers whether globalisation is driving ethnic cultures to lose their identity. On the other, she uses her origami workshop to show how packaging could be made much more sustainable: a single sheet of recyclable paper is folded into a sturdy box.
Gary Scott’s interactive work also had an important political dimension. ‘Students’ were asked to produce a doodle without ‘thinking’. They were encouraged not to be considered in their approach but to ‘play’ to allow input direct from the unconscious and to express the creative impulse. The global concerns of our time (resolving conflict, climate change, immigration and a tough economic environment, etc) require creative solutions. Gary believes there is a danger that our education system is producing a generation who think within the ‘academic’ box. If creative subjects could be made compulsory at secondary school, he contends, we would be a richer, more contented and balanced society that would find better solutions to the big issues. Gary’s wall of doodles was designed to inspire and ignite creativity in individuals, but was also a call for change.
“This project might not seem like a big deal to the ‘art world’ but for people who feel marginalised or even afraid of art, the opportunity to contribute to an installation at the Tate presented a powerful message” – Gary Scott
Building walls is topical at the moment, and it is interesting that another was created by Stephen Bennett, one also containing a political message. However, instead of a message of divide, this wall could only be built through collaboration. Working with whoever wanted to sit down and paint, Stephen relied on gallery visitors to produce 64 single 15x15cm sheets of different colours. When put together, they formed a giant, homemade data visualisation of the climate change affecting the Indus Valley on the Pakistan-India border. Stephen’s work was an experiment to consider whether people become more invested in evidence when they actively participate in its creation, especially when it takes the identity of a piece of art.
Ellie Sher also created a participant-built data visualisation, innovatively using embroidery thread to capture information. Ellie is interested in the psychological and philosophical questions surrounding identity; how we communicate our identity and what strands of identity are most pivotal to our sense of self. Her piece at the Tate explored the top 3 strands of identity selected by people, who chose different colours of thread and matched it to different notches on a constructed frame. Some examples of the strands include cultural, social, memories, genetics, aura, and work. There was a lot of interaction with the piece. It raised a lot of questions and provoked discussion, as the topic of identity often does, but also resulted in a beautiful and fragile piece of art.
Data collection also underpinned Juan Perez’s work, which is centred on real-time sculpting of marble. This marble piece is only worked upon whilst exhibited. Data is collected from the performer’s oxygen levels and heart rate, whilst performing. An invitation is made for the viewer to be part of the piece, by adding his/her own oxygen and heart rates to the database, and, if desired, for their information to be used and uploaded to the web, as this project grows. The piece, titled ‘Work in Progress’ is an on-going project that constantly develops ways to question the relationships that our bodies have with the realms of art, physical labour, desire and globalisation.
Monika Dorniak’s interactive event also explored how important body processes responded to artistic performances. Her workshop provided information about body rhythms including heartbeats, breathing and brain waves, and the effect of various stimuli (stress, relaxation) on them. Monika then worked with participants to create short performances in partnerships or groups using rhythms such as clapping, whistling, breathing and others. She supported individuals and groups to develop exercises, and perform to the public. The partner work, in particular, aimed to strengthen group bonds by acknowledging similarities, instead of differences: a collective synchronisation.
Çağlar Tahiroğlu further developed the art-as-therapy theme in her drop-in performance/workshop entitled Liberate Yourself from your Dearest Objects. Participants were invited to reflect on what they want to liberate themselves from, engage reflective discussion with each other and create representative clay figurines (or depose a real object!). Finally, they put their work into a collective square, which then forms a group sculpture-in-progress. There was an enthusiastic response from participants. Some revealed intimate subjects; discussion were rich and interesting. Different groups of people led to different results. An important finding was how flexible the art-therapy theoretical framework is, and how it can blend into a fine art context without losing its depth. The experiment has provided Çağlar with a quantity of ideas about how to interact with the public in different contexts and different ways to go further in this research.
Bekk Wells worked with workshop participants to build an enclosure out of sheets and blankets, similar to the forts and dens built by children. For most of the afternoon the structure was full to capacity with people getting to know one another and sharing stories. Bekk commented, “It was a successful exercise in modifying the built environment in order to change in the social environment. It’s surprising how relatively minor interventions can create a new kind of space.”
Neus Torres Tamarit devised and ran two related activities under the banner of ‘Metagenomics in Art’. The first was recombining and sequencing printed strips of three original artworks displayed at Tate Britain and Tate Modern using human metagenome sequences as reference. The artworks are; Los Moscos by Mark Bradford, The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, Ophelia Sequenced I by Neus Torres Tamarit from the original Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais, and mirrored strips that reflect the environment. The second activity consisted of creating artificial DNA sequences using red, blue, green and yellow plasticine, colours that are normally used to represent the four nucleotides of DNA.
If you are inspired by some of these art and science experiments, please follow us on Twitter or Instagram and share this blog. And come see our work in exhibition at the MA Interim Show, Somehow You and I Collide (16-19 March, Mangle, 2-18 Warburton Rd, London E8 3FN), the degree show (24-28 May, Central Saint Martins, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA).
Somehow You and I Collide showcases the work of over 70 postgraduate art students in the first year of their course, be it MA Art and Science, MA Fine Art or MA Photography at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.
Housed in the underground post-industrial space of Mangle in London’s East End, the space provides a perfect backdrop for contemporary work that considers what it means to make in today’s economic and political landscape.
Sharing their postgraduate work publicly for the first time, the students span the full scope of media from painting, sculpture, video, performance, and experimental interactive works. Their approaches are diverse and address a range of themes including – but by no means limited to – identity, celebrity, reality, chaos, and excess.
What brings these works together is a shared sense of urgency, the art shown in Somehow You and I Collide is work that needs to be made and needs to be shown.
Please join us for an event that is sure to be exciting and thought-provoking.
2-18 Warburton Road, E8 3FN
Private View Thursday 16 March: 6 – 9pm
Exhibition continues 17-19 March: 12 – 6pm
February 2017 sees the twentieth anniversary of the cloning of Dolly the Sheep. To mark this event, MA Art and Science first-year student Julie Light is co-curating and exhibiting a show with Just Glass, a group of established and emerging glass artists. The show will focus on the creative possibilities of replication, duplication and repetition using glass as the creative medium.
The show runs from 7th March to 1st April at Courtyard Arts Centre, Port Vale, Hertford, SG14 3AA.
More details and opening times can be found at www.just-glass.co.uk and all are welcome at the Private View on 7th March at 7.00 – 9.00pm.
MA Art and Science
Wednesday 7 December
Come and see work in progress, experiments and performances from forty interdisciplinary practitioners exploring the interconnections between art and science.
Central Saint Martins Archway Campus
9-15 Elthorne Road
London N19 4AJ
For details of scheduled events and up to date information check event info on Facebook
The exhibition ‘Tracing Wastelands’ at The Depot in Clapton celebrated the work that students on MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins produced in collaboration with the Government Office of Science.
Text by Ellie Armstrong
Not one to turn down a novel set of collaborators, students on the MA Art and Science course enthusiastically greeted the chance to work with the Government Office of Science on their Annual Report. Every year the Government Office of Science call on experts to work on an overarching, scientific issue that will impact on cross-party policy. Previously the reports have addressed Forensics and Risks in Innovation.
For 2016 the report focused on Waste and Resource Productivity. A small group of students on the course embarked on the collaborative enterprise. The groups’ individual practices already touched on waste and it’s impacts, so from the first strong harmonies were found between our work and the research areas that the Government Office of Science were planning on researching for their report. After initial introductory meetings with Fay Kenworthy and Mike Edbury to cover the scope of their project we were invited to a kick off meeting at the Government Office of Science, where we were introduced to a long list of researchers who might be involved in the report. The conference covered a diversity of themes, which we each took notes on at our tables, which fed into Julius’ later work. Over the course of the year, we met up with Fay and Ian, discussed our individual projects and progress and worked to understand what was being researched for the report. Initially the report was scheduled to be released in November, and as we worked towards this date, we found a venue to host an exhibition of works produced in the Wastelands collaboration.
We were fortunate to be able to use The Depot Clapton for the exhibition, which was an intimate setting for the six artists exhibiting. As co-curator, I was excited that the works were able to feed into a narrative that looped around the gallery space. The cross-referencing between the works was incredibly interesting as a spectator and brought the idea of the Waste Cycle that the report had been discussing into heightened relief. The report’s release was unfortunately delayed, but it has given us all time to reflect on the works produced and on the direction of the collaboration as a whole. It’s hoped that we’ll be able to host another exhibition of the works in London detailing the progress and continued critique of ideas around waste, and that eventually we’ll be able to take the works around the country to the institutions that contributed to the Government Office of Science report to highlight the research work publically in their own community.
Exhibiting artists were Julius Colwyn | Silvia Krupinska | Beckie Leach | Hannah Scott | Stephanie Wong | Jennifer Crouch
Tracing Wastelands was curated by Ellie Armstrong and Julius Colwyn and was shown at The Depot, London, 18-20 November 2016.
a collaboration between Arts Catalyst, Robert Whitman, The Performance Studio and MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins
‘Why Make it Simple, When You Can Make it Complex?’ came into being as a result of a two month collaboration between Central Saint Martins and Arts Catalyst. Our temporary artist group consisted of students Monika Dorniak, Virginie Serneels and Nicolas Strappini from MA Art & Science, and external alumni Verena Hermann and Mary Simmons, MA Fine Art at UCA Farnham. The initial reason for the project was as a development of Arts Catalyst’s exhibition about the revolutionary ‘9 Evenings’ project presented in New York (1966), involving artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Yvonne Rainer and John Cage.
In the first stage of our project we worked together with one of the original participants, Robert Whitman, helping to develop his performance presented on the 7th of October. The performance re-invented the rules of theatre and performance by including engineering elements, and integrating off-stage activities with live video footage. You can view the full performance here.
The title ‘Why Make It Simple When It Can Be Made Complex?’ was decided during our group conversations about life in the Anthropocene, considering the loss and gain of control through technological developments. With the diversity of our backgrounds the presentations developed individually and included elements of robotics, chemistry, neurology, theatre design, dance, engineering and fine art. While some of the works invited the audience to interact and participate in artistic debates, others were classically designed to be observed by the viewer.
More Information on our individual projects:
Virginie Serneels ‘9 Evenings & Side Effects reload’