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
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.
How restrictions can make us more creative in art and teaching
Words by Stephen Bennett, with workshop observations from Lisa Pettibone and quotes from participants. Photos by Çağlar Tahiroğlu.
It is October 2016. The leaves are falling, yet it is a time of fresh promise for first-year students on Central Saint Martins’ masters programme in Art and Science. The new students are naturally a bit anxious, keen to impress their course leaders and their fellow students. What will their first artwork be? How to ensure it really shines? Perhaps stick with tried and tested methods, the kind of thing which gained entry to the programme in the first place. That worked well after all. But what is the point of joining a MA just to do the same old thing?
Second week, and the course leaders, Nathan Cohen and Heather Barnett, lull the students into a entertaining exercise. Sitting in groups, the students are asked to brainstorm lists of subject matter for art – death, immigration, philosophy, alienation. ‘Black holes!’ someone shouts. This is getting quite fun. Next, different methods for producing art. Painting, sculpting, drawing. But what about data experiments or tasting – how can that be practical? Finally, a list of materials to use in the production of art. Students are warmed up now. Rubber, plastic, cement… bacteria! Sports equipment!!
“Use the hammer to smash
the patriarchy walnut!”
You may see what is about to happen – but the students didn’t. Heather delivers the coup de grace. Randomly assigning numbers, each student ends up with a unique combination of ‘matter-method-material’. This is the first project brief of the MA: to develop artwork based upon the ‘forced connections’ of a chance group of three words.
The initial result is… uproar amongst the students. But then, with a bit of coaching and support, the studio starts germinating some unusual pieces. Cola cans cling to the window. Folded paper sprouts from a wall. Knitted cushions appear and then start multiplying. A month later, and students are explaining works about immigration, developed through interviews, using bacteria as a material. A collaboration results in painted rocks, telling us about philosophy. Ink dripping down folded paper is a metaphor for alienation. Plastic, painted, reveals insights about communication networks. Just as the first crit is wrapping up, Heather delivers another bombshell. There is an opportunity to show these experimental pieces in a London gallery in a week’s time…
The display is part of University of the Arts London’s recent Practices of Enquiry, an exhibition of experimental enquiry-based learning across UAL, featuring teaching methods from all colleges. Photos of the in-situ art are studded through this blog. The art is intended to inspire and provoke teaching staff across UAL. This is most evident in the Rules of Random workshop run by Heather. This event, for UAL teaching staff, uses the same techniques as the ‘forced connections’ project.
“How do you send an
orange into space?”
This time unsuspecting participants brainstorm a list of ‘unusual groups of students’, ‘difficult subject matter’, and select random objects. The MA students are interspersed in the groups, now playing the role of coach. They help groups design lesson plans to teach mathematical pattern recognition to traditional wine makers using a compass. Participants consider how to use dried orange slices to teach astrophysics to 16 year olds. Ever used a walnut to teach sex education to linguists? What about using a blindfold to teach technoheads about Antarctic scuba diving? You can see some of the results in this blog.
The two sister exercises – Forced Connections in the studio, Rules of Random in the gallery – had a number of features in common. Perhaps most obviously they are conduits for unlocking creativity. Everyone can get stuck in a rut, whether producing art, teaching or working in an office. Restricting options can force lateral thinking and resourcefulness. Sometimes we are faced with two many choices or methods, and the possibilities can be paralysing. Sometimes – especially when doing something we are supposed to be good at – we live in fear of failure. But, when forced to use a sieve to teach tradesmen about crime, the failure becomes almost inevitable, and this permits a great willingness to take risk.
“What is the
essence of a feather?”
A number of the CSM students are now incorporating the initially ridiculed combinations of matter-method-material into their main practice. Bacteria and immigration becomes a starting point for examining the semiotics around human relations. Folding and alienation has resulted paper-based in sculptures which morph between two and three dimensions. Similarly, feedback from the Rules of Random workshop participants was that it has opened up new teaching approaches. Food can be an excellent way of teaching 16 year olds about abstract concepts. Participatory lessons, especially ones involving blindfolds or smashing nuts, become instantly memorable. Objects can help focus learning into specific issues in a much broader topic.
These techniques can be adapted into practically any environment, with any task in mind. Please try them out, see if it can unlock a problem or open up a new line of enquiry. And remember: you must use whichever random combination you get!
The Rules of Random workshop was developed as part of Practices of Enquiry, a two-year enhancement project at UAL exploring how we create the conditions for enquiry to flourish within our ‘creative, curious, critical curricula’.
The workshop was devised and delivered by MA Art and Science lecturer, Heather Barnett, working with students: Olivia Bargman, Stephen Bennett, Joshua Bourke, Lisa Pettibone, Çağlar Tahiroğlu, and Bekk Wells.
‘Cryptic – Art & Science’ is an innovative show bringing together the work of 15 international artists and scientists from the Central Saint Martins’ Postgraduate Art programme.
The participating artists, who are entering into the final year of their MA Art and Science studies, will be investigating topics including: what does our genetic make-up say about us; how we are connected to the earth through molecular energy; the new materiality of being human in the 21st Century; the ritual of memory and extinction; climate change and the rise of the seas; collective consciousness and what lies beyond the ‘event horizon’ – peering into a black hole.
An inventive approach is taken to the use of media with artists coming from a diversity of professional and creative backgrounds such as engineering, fine art, publishing, art and film production, theatre, photography, psychology, textile design and storytelling. Inspired by their individual connections with science a wide range of processes and media is used to respond to the issues considered. Expect toothpicks, latex, digital and video platforms, emerging biological forms and chemical reactions.
The exhibition will include works developed from collaborations with scientists, experiments with processes and the use of familiar materials as a novel medium for artistic exploration and influences from current and ongoing scientific inquiry.
Commenting on the event, Neus Torres Tamarit, as curator and exhibiting artist says: “This student-initiated show comes at the moment before we commence our final year of study. It showcases the creative energy and the evolution of our investigations as we prepare for our degree show.” Inspiring, pioneering and risk taking the artists wish to engage with the audience to inform, educate and challenge.
The show is kindly supported by The Bree Louise and Call Print.
Cryptic – Art & Science
Private View: 4 October, from 6pm – 9pm
Open to the Public: 5 – 7 October, 10am – 7pm & 8 October 10am – 6pm
Meet the artists: 6 October, from 6pm – 9pm
The Crypt Gallery, Euston Rd, London NW1 2BA
In-kind support by The Bree Louise and Call Print
Exhibition curated by Neus Torres Tamarit
Press release by Maria Macc
Poster design by Heather Scott
Transport Links to Crypt
The Crypt Gallery, Euston Rd, London NW1 2BA
Euston is the obvious choice if you’re looking to travel to us by train, although we’re a short walk from King’s Cross and a number of other stations including: Euston Square, Warren Street and Russell Square.
The 59, 68, 91, 168 & N91 all stop nearby and if you don’t mind a very short walk you can also hop on the 10, 18, 30, 73, 205, 390, N73 & N205