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Postcard from the edge of Art and Science

Fig.1. double, complex (2021) (mixed-media paper, coloured inks, A6 postcard)

Increasingly fascinated with the connections between Art and Science, I was delighted to secure a place on Edinburgh University’s ASCUS* Art and Science on a Postcard 2021 event which took place earlier this year over three consecutive weekends.

Fig.2. ASCUS Welcome Pack (2021)

During Week 1, after receiving a Welcome Pack full of goodies – which included a very small piece of card on which to create an artwork!, the ten participants were matched into pairs comprising one artist and one scientist during a rapid networking session – a bit like speed-dating and great fun! My partner, a Phd Translational Neuroscientist, and I immediately hit it off. A week of intensive communication followed in preparation, our brief: to distill an idea of conversation onto an A6 postcard using anything from mixed media to digital technology, written word and audio visual.

Both my partner and I are fascinated with biological complexity, with the small yet crucial elements of life which are often taken for granted, which are hidden. One of the images we shared, of the double helix, immediately resonated and I decided to make a piece based on its incredible intricate form. I also wanted to work out from the surface of the postcard, reflecting a desire for physical artwork, for materiality, resulting perhaps from lengthy periods of lock-down preventing human connection and over-reliance on the digital, virtual world.

My piece, double, complex (see fig.1.) aims to work as a visual connection between art and science and how the two disciplines can enrich our knowledge and understanding. The pairing of colours references the four bases of DNA: adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine. I transposed the language of science into poetic text by incorporating 4-word phrases e.g. complex treasure giving answers, connections allow greater thinking. Each word begins with the letters A,T,C,G which is intended to add a spiritual humanising element that is important to the understanding of science.

Week 3 provided opportunity to showcase all the participants’ creations, share our experience of the collaborative process, consolidate connections made with others during the three -week events and to discuss ideas for future projects.

It was icing on the cake to hear that the work my collaborative partner and I created is to be on permanent display at Edinburgh University!

ASCUS: a non-profit organisation dedicated to bridging the gap between the arts and sciences with the aim of reaching new and wider audiences. https://www.ascus.org.uk/about/

Visit my blog here – https://spaces.oca.ac.uk/kymcoratinpainting2/category/assignments/postcard-from-the-edge-of-art-and-science/

List of Illustrations:

  • Fig.1. Walker, K. (2021) double, complex [Photograph] In possession of: The author: Hertfordshire
  • Fig.2. Walker, K. (2021) ASCUS Welcome Pack [Photograph] In possession of: The author: Hertfordshire

Bibliography:

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Posted by author: Kym Walker
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9 thoughts on “Postcard from the edge of Art and Science

  • What an exciting event! Thank you for sharing, I really like the idea of a collaboration between Art and Science and how you and your scientist connected to create such an interesting piece.

  • Congratulations Kym! For a long time I’ve maintained that there’s a strong correlation between artists and scientists. Both experiment and advance incrementally (Eureka! moments are rare). Both need imagination and latetal thinking to progress. Both learn as much from failures as from sucesses. My personal research has been on the overlaps between vision, perception, recognition and representations of time.

  • Wow Congratulations Kym!! I love how you combined poetic text and the letters -brilliant!!! And how about that permanent display! I am so glad for you and your partner! It would be lovely to see photos of the piece installed at Edinburgh University. (I have no idea if it is nearby you or not – just that it would be lovely to see!) =)

  • I admire your ability to think in three dimensions in this way Kym. The piece appeals to my desire for neatness and clean lines. The poetry of the concept, colours and writings stand out. Congratulations on your success with this project.

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