GÄA: HOLISTIC SCIENCE AND WISDOM TRADITION
Gemma Anderson, Serena Korda, Delfina Muñoz de Toro and Abel Rodriguez
*Founded in 2016 by Artist Gemma Anderson and NHM Scientist Gavin Broad, the Art and Science Interest Group (ASIG) at the Natural History Museum is a bi-monthly forum that fosters a community of Scientists and Artists who are interested in the field of ‘Art/Science’. ASIG provides a programme of Invited speakers at each meeting, who share practice and ideas and excite new conversations in the group.
Details of how to book will be added to this page soon.
This session developed out of our interdisciplinary project involving an artist (Gemma Anderson), a cell biologist (James Wakefield) and a philosopher (John Dupré). The overall goal of the project is to develop better ways of representing biological processes. It also continues earlier work by Anderson (2017) on drawing as a way of knowing. As Wakefield will argue, the decline of drawing as a practice in biological research has had deleterious consequences for some aspects of biological research.
In the first stages of the project, Anderson and Wakefield have worked together to produce images of mitosis, the process that is the central research topic of the Wakefield lab. The aim was to produce a two-dimensional image that somehow represented the full sequence of transitions involved in mitosis. A method was developed that translated Wakefield’s understanding of mitosis into an image in which the vertical dimension represented time, and a number of features (colour, thickness of line, distance from the centre, etc.) represented crucial aspects of the mitotic process. A number of different images have been generated, representing different organisms with differences in their processes of mitosis. The process of producing these images and its rationale will be presented in fuller detail during the session.
The outcome of this activity has been a series of images, which we refer to—for reasons that will be obvious on seeing them—as mitosis pots. These are, perhaps needless to say, very different from familiar textbook depictions of mitosis. The causal connection between features of mitosis and features of the mitosis pots gives us confidence that the images could be used to represent common features and specific differences in mitosis, though it is also clear that such use would require a degree of training. We shall discuss the costs and benefits of introducing such images into the practice and teaching of biology. Preliminary exploration of this question has involved soliciting reactions from other scientists.
We feel that a standard format of three 30 minute presentation representing distinct disciplinary perspectives would not do justice to the interdisciplinary nature of the project. Instead, we propose three brief introductions to aspects of the project by each of the participants, followed by more detailed presentations of the first completed sub-project, which is collaborative work by Anderson and Wakefield. We will allow some time for discussion at the conclusion of each part of the session. Dupréewill also chair a concluding 15 minute discussion session.
In response to the need for a format to show the transdisciplinary research project ‘Representing Biology as Process’ beyond the art-space, this is the first experiment with a flexible and mobile modular structure for exhibiting work in academic and scientific spaces. The structure has been inspired by the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) exhibition ‘On Growth and Form’ (1951), especially Richard Hamilton’s experiments with ‘plane-by-plane’ constructions organised around a modular hanging system with the intention to give viewers an opportunity to generate their own image relations in space.
Read more at https://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/sociology/events/probioprojectconference/#8PcSTWFR7cHcE7R1.99
Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College, Iowa, US
April 12, 4 p.m.
‘Artist in residence Gemma Anderson will introduce her work at Grinnell in the context of the current collaboration with biologist James Wakefield and philosopher of biology John Dupré on the Arts and Humanities Research Council project Representing Biology as Process (2017-2020). Dr. Anderson has collaborated on a number of innovative art/science projects including Hidden Geometries with the Mathematics Department at Imperial College London; Isomorphology with the Natural History Museum, London; and Portraits: Patients and Psychiatrists (Wellcome Trust Arts Award 2009) in collaboration with psychiatrists and patients at Bethlem Royal Hospital. Co-sponsored by the Institute for Global Engagement and the Biology Department’.
*Read the new ASIG NHM webpage here.
• Gemma Anderson, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
• Jaq Chartier, Seattle, WA
• David Goodsell, Scripps Institute, CA
• Inked Animal (Adam Cohen and Ben Labay), Austin, TX
• Ellie Irons, Brooklyn, NY
• Daniel Kariko, East Carolina University, NC
• Isabella Kirkland, San Francisco, CA
• Barrett Klein, University of Wisconsin, WI
• Damien Laudier, City College of New York, NY
• Tara Shukla, Grinnell, IA
• Liz Ward, Trinity University, TX
• Gail Wight, Stanford University, CA
Fred Hagstrom, Carleton College, MN