I am often asked where I situate my practice in the art and science collaboration model and what aspects of the dynamics between the disciplines entreat me – the answer is complex. Firstly, both disciplines share an innate curiosity about the world – making them ideal partners despite different approaches – the scientist’s rigour and protocols versus the artist’s experimental wanderings and emotional uptake.
Secondly, the tension in the attempt by scientist’s to abnegate the personal, to make their research objective, is interesting and worthy of respect. Theoretical physics acknowledges that the role of the observer influences what is seen and that an amount of subjectivity is apparent. The reason this construct is fascinating is that it complicates the amount of reality out there. As a firm believer that multiple realities exist for each individual, and that there is no other truth or reality outside of us, then the scientist’s challenge for objectivity is viewed as an intriguing conundrum.
“The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility”.
Einstein, A. ‘Physics and Reality’, Journal of the Franklin Institute
Photographic artist Susan Derges is also interested in the idea of abnegation when investigating the natural world and how by trying to remove oneself from the process it might reveal a true reality. She captures unseen moments through infinitesimal fragments that build to illustrate images with an otherworldliness quality. Her practice is nocturnal – harnessing the darkness and the river as her study and photographic processing lab. An aluminium slide complete with photographic paper is submerged just below the surface of the river, and then a micro-second flash above renders a photographic transparency. The flow and dynamics of the river is imprinted transposing the river’s own viewpoint from below. The colour in each image is dictated by the nature of the ambient light present at the time of shooting. These truly beautiful and inspiring studies can be seen at http://www.susanderges.com/
Giles Revell also employs photographic techniques to communicate natural wonders. He builds up multiple images of creatures like insects then layers them to create finely crafted two-dimensional works with strong three-dimensional qualities. The results, like Derges’ work, delivers scientific outputs highly charged with ethereal overtones transforming them from cold diagnostic renderings to captivating works of art that embrace both art and science. http://gilesrevell.com/projects/insects/