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5x7 toxicology switch and peel paint orford ravenArt and Science Seminar: Hidden Dangers

10 April 2013

2.15 – 6.15 pm

Adelphi Lecture Theatre, University of Central Lancashire, Preston

To book your place at this free seminar telephone 01772 893210 or send an email to schoolbne@uclan.ac.uk

Beautiful Dystopias exhibition private view

After the seminar the PR1 gallery will be open till 7.30pm for a private view, and complementary refreshments to seminar participants, of Jac Scott’s exhibition Beautiful Dystopias.

 The seminar and exhibition format promises to balance the dual purposes of presenting visually powerful imagery and intellectual critical analysis, to stimulate, provoke and create new dialogues.

 Art and Science

The intellectual curiosity that both art and science share about the world is to be explored in the Art and Science Seminar: Hidden Dangers. The seminar aims to stimulate discourse between science and art through presentation and debate of environmental issues focusing on the dangers of the hidden impacts we humans have made on the planet.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science”.     Albert Einstein

Art and Science Seminar: Hidden Dangers Programme

Presentations from: Richard Bright (Director of The Interalia Centre, Bristol), Professor Richard Hull, (Professor of Chemistry & Fire Science), visual artist Jac Scott ARBS and Professor Glyn Morton (Emeritus Professor of Microbiology).

Richard Bright                         Director Interalia Centre, Bristol           http://www.interaliacentre.org

Keynote Lecture: Uncertain Entanglements?  The renowned keynote speaker Richard Bright will unite the disciplines with his presentation Uncertain Entanglements?  Richard Bright will reflect on thirty years of exploring and observing the connections and interactions between art and science, from the viewpoint of both an artist and Director of The Interalia Centre. He will ask, ‘Can creative understanding be extended through exploring and equating these diverse fields of knowledge?’ and ‘Are there hidden dangers involved?’  An understanding of their imagery and language might go some way in recognizing the similarities and differences between these two dominant forces in our culture.

 Professor Richard Hull            Professor of Chemistry & Fire Science

Lecture: Can scientists be trusted with life safety and the environment?

We are surrounded by new materials, structures and devices. Many have appeared so quickly we are unaware of any problems or hazards associated with them, let alone developed strategies for protecting ourselves and our environment.  For example, our homes contain polyurethane foam furniture and environmentalists urging us to clad them in polyurethane insulation materials.  Polyurethanes burn readily, producing a lethal mixture of thick smoke, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. To reduce the flammability, halogenated flame retardants (HFR) have been added; this makes it harder to ignite your sofa with a cigarette or a match, but when it burns the HFRs increase the toxicity of the smoke.  Worse, some HFRs leach out into the environment where they are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT).  On the other hand, unwanted fires do untold harm to the environment – they have been estimated to release a comparable amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to those from the diesel engines of lorries; they leave buildings contaminated with potentially carcinogenic soot; and fill the atmosphere with a cocktail of toxic effluents.  We do not have the tools to decide which is the lesser of these two evils.

Life would not be the same without the luxury of affordable furnishings, warm comfortable homes and modern electronic devices.  Fire safety is important, and the tragic loss of life has to be avoided.  A robust, transparent methodology is needed to balance the long-term damage to the planet against the human loss and suffering of short term disasters, such as fires, and the overall cost of their prevention.

Jac Scott ARBS            Artist-in-residence 2012-13 at UCLan                        http://www.jacscott.com

Lecture:  ? = us + stuff + planet  Jac Scott will talk about her sixteen-month residency, Beautiful Dystopias, in the School of Built and Natural Environment, UCLan.  Working with scientists and geographers her research focused on the hidden imprints on the planet that our embedded sense of reality conveniently obscures. She investigated the complex labyrinth of the psyche being further skewed by the reconfiguring of boundaries of the scale of the issues. Geologists have issued compelling evidence that the ‘anthropocene’, a term conceived in 2002 by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, marks a geological age – a new epoch of a human related geological footprint. The strata will evidence such activities as: radioactive fall-out from nuclear tests, increased carbon dioxide levels, concentration of nitrates in the oceans, extensive plastic pollution, mass extinction of species, large scale mining, significant river damming and deforestation.

Beautiful Dystopias exhibition  Jac Scott’s lecture is complemented by her exhibition Beautiful Dystopias in PR1 Gallery. The exhibition will showcase selected works from the Beautiful Dystopias Collection created in response to her residency findings. The exhibition is open to the public on weekdays 8-19 April 2013.

Professor Glyn Morton                       Emeritus Professor of Microbiology

Lecture: Microbial Apocalypse Soon?  Microorganisms have a simple approach to life; they use whatever is available as a food source, attach themselves to practically all surfaces, multiply and build up biomass.  Everyone is familiar with the phenomenon of rotting – the natural decay and recycling of materials by a wide range of organisms.  This process is termed biodegradation and it is perceived as a beneficial process.  In contrast, biodeterioration may be defined as “the deterioration of materials of economic importance by microorganisms”: it is perceived as a deleterious process.

This lecture will present an account of the degradation of a range of materials that occur in the domestic, natural and industrial environment. The presence of microorganisms on some materials is perhaps to be expected; but their ability to colonise materials assumed to be biologically inert, is often surprising: with negative effects on the aesthetic appearance of the materials and upon their structure and/or functioning. There are often considerable financial and health implications associated with biodeterioration. The control of biodeterioration and the problems that this can generate will be discussed.

Open debate   Chaired by Director of The Centre for Waste Management Dr Karl Williams