State of Matter: artists conclude their Masters with symposium and CSM degree show

A Nervous Encounter artists from the Central Saint Martins MA Art and Science present the fruits of their research at CSM Degree Show One, opening this weekend. The class are also hosting a symposium: State of Matter: Collisions and Connections in Art and Science

The State of Matter symposium will be held on Wednesday 29th May, the closing day of the Degree Show, at the CSM King’s Cross Campus.

The event includes an outstanding panel of guest speakers including Sir Jonathan Miller CBE (doctor, artist, director, writer, and curator); Dr Daniel Glaser (Director of Science Engagement at the King’s Cultural Institute, King’s College London); and Ariane Koek (Clore Fellow and Director of Collide@CERN).

There will also be presentations by the graduating students from the MA Art and Science. Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion about the value of art and science research and practice, including speakers and audience participation. Through the exhibition and the symposium, the subject of art and science as an interdisciplinary practice will be probed, scrutinised, questioned and debated.

The inaugural MA Art and Science degree show will present a collection of artwork inspired by a range of scientific interests, including cosmology, optics, the environment, nanotechnology and quantum physics. Students on the MA Art and Science aim to find meaningful and inspiring connections, engage in discourse and communicate their research through their art.

Register to attend the symposium here.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Nervous Encounter project catalogue

The catalogue produced to accompany A Nervous Encounter can be downloaded here.

Artists and scientists involved in the project contributed words and images. Documentation of the art, the science, the dialogue and the process was important for us to record the collaboration.


Posted in Uncategorized

Talking about art and science

Artwork by Marta Santuccio

On Saturday, a number of the contributing artists and scientists were at the gallery. It was an informal chance to discuss our work with anyone interested that was visiting the space.. ..And to catch up with each other again, in a slightly more relaxed setting, post-private view.

Very quickly our thoughts were turning to the future: what next for this collection of works, for this inspired group of people, for these neuro-influenced ideas. Dialogue is one of the most exciting parts of art-science collaborations.

The exhibition is still open for one more week until 20th October, Tues-Sat 10am-5pm at Arts at the Old Fire Station.

Image credit: Agnieszka Swiejkowska

Posted in Uncategorized

In Session: Where Science and Art Meet

Artwork, detail

Tomorrow! Drop in to the Old Fire Station on Saturday 13th October 12pm – 3pm to meet some contributors to the show.

Talk with artists and scientists about their practice, research and experiences being part of A Nervous Encounter. Come!

Posted in Uncategorized

Artists and artworks (detail)

Ellie Fawcett with her artworks

Image credit: Agnieszka Swiejkowska

Posted in Uncategorized

Private View: A Nervous Encounter exhibition opening

Guests at the private view for A Nervous Encounter

The private view of A Nervous Encounter took place on the evening of Friday 5th October. The gallery was buzzing, and all in attendance were excited.

Many members of the Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit were intrigued by the artworks on display, observing subtle scientific features within the pieces. The aesthetics of the works were equally enthralling. The catalogue produced to accompany A Nervous Encounter documents a lot of the science, the art and the process of collaboration.

Join in the dialogue by coming to the gallery at the Old Fire Station this Saturday 13th Oct (12-3pm) to meet artists and scientists involved in the show, and talk to them about their stories of interactions and about how this experiment evolved.

Image credit: Agnieszka Swiejkowska

Posted in Uncategorized


A blackboard announces the coming exhibition

Meanwhile… While the first year students were visiting the lab, down the road at Arts at the Old Fire Station, the second year MA Art and Science students from Central Saint Martins were installing their artworks for A Nervous Encounter. These are the results of their extended collaboration, following their own first visit to the Basal Ganglia lab nearly a year ago. With media ranging from print-making and photography to sound pieces, artworks respond to neuroscience research in a variety of ways, from the manipulation of microscope images, to utilizing sounds from the lab, and installations exploring ideas about universal structures across nature.

It was very exciting to see the preparation for the exhibition, which opens with a Private View tomorrow night (!). A Nervous Encounter is open to the public from 6-20 October (Tues-Sat, 10-5pm). Artists and scientists contributing to the show will be in the gallery on Saturday 13th October (12-3pm), if you’re interested in talking to them about the collaboration.

Image credit: Agnieszka Swiejkowska

Posted in Uncategorized

What? Wait.. But these are different artists..?

People look down a light microscope together.

Yesterday, another class of artists visited the Basal Ganglia labs. It is the beginning of term, and the new first year students on the Central Saint Martins MA Art and Science Programme are straight into an introduction to a biomedical research lab.

The 20 graduate students are interested in science in the context of their art practice, but may not have experience of a scientific research environment, so coming to the ANU was an opportunity to find out about an example of a lab doing biomedical research, meet the people and see some of the technology used.

As with the previous class, scientists demonstrated experimental techniques used, talked through their research objectives to learn more about the basal ganglia brain structures, and answered many questions.

Image credit: Agnieszka Swiejkowska

Posted in Uncategorized

When worlds collide

We’ve been featured on the Medical Research Council (MRC) blog, with a guest post by Agnieszka Tamiola. Read her words here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Neuroconcretism: “The whole is other than the sum of the parts”

Rafaela Miranda Rocha, Neuroconcretism (Retina), ink on japanese paper, 2012

Guest Post by Rafaela Miranda Rocha

In the late 50s in Rio de Janeiro, a group of artists decided to break with the rational, industrial-like themes of the Concrete Art movement. Rejecting the serial form, optical effects, and the influence of science and technology, their works favoured physicality rather than intellect.

“The recovery of the creative potential of the artist – no longer considered as an inventor of industrial prototypes – and the effective incorporation of the spectator – who, by touching and manipulating the works, becomes an integral part of them – were presented as attempts to neutralize a certain technical and scientific inclination perceived in Concretism.”

More than 50 years have passed since the Neoconcrete Manifesto and technological breakthroughs have led us into another scientific revolution. We are going deeper into space, into the land, into the oceans and into our bodies, than ever before, and these discoveries and images are providing us with answers while raising tons of new questions. While the Neoconcretists might have rejected science for it’s rationality, I feel breakthroughs in the field of quantum physics and, more recently, the Higgs boson discovery for example, point us to a great unknown and, in the case of artists, fuel curiosity and imagination.

“The whole is other than the sum of the parts” Kurt Koffka

In Neuroconcretism I use visual references of the Neoconcrete movement, more specifically the woodcuts of Lygia Pape, to create a cycle where the structures that allow us to see and identify form, contrast and colour are being deconstructed and transformed into objects of vision, thus stimulating themselves. To dissociate these organic structures from their origin (living things) and depict them as pure form, I based the drawings on Gestalt theory, particularly the laws of grouping. Our form-generating capability, known as gestalt effect, allows us to visually recognize figures and whole forms instead of just a collection of simple lines and curves, but it is our subjective minds that will give meaning to these apparently plain forms.

I’m bringing science into art, but in a completely pictoric and subjective way. The choices of how to draw these images stripping them of all their ‘organicity’ were instinctive, a completely personal interpretation and expression of the scientific data analysed. Even though the structures portrayed are universal, each individual, and therefore, each individual brain, will respond to them in a particular way. Call it my 21st century take on the spectator incorporation the Neoconcretists praised so much.

Refer to this previous post for more about Rafaela’s conversations with scientists at the ANU.

Posted in Uncategorized