Hunting for Answers

I’m a fan of Engage with Strathclyde…

And a must, if you’re at Strathclyde Uni, is Hunting for Answers. It’ll be over by Friday, and when it gone, it’s gone! The combination of images, poetry, music and sculpture is a brave venture by the organisers and artists, but pioneers SIPBS as a science gallery where art can be showcased.

Where do I start?

On the ground floor are sculptures and a video/textile piece: the ordinary lab equipment we use and abuse every day has been crafted into artwork. On the second floor are sonic (sound-based) pieces, poetry and pictures.

If you have the chance to visit the exhibits, take time to enjoy the poetry, watch the caped scientist, think about how pipette tips have been moulded into sculpture. This might be tricky if you’ve just stepped out the lab, but switching off the analytical and moving into the expressional is well worth it. Think about how creative and clever the artists have been, how something ordinary is transformed into something extraordinary (even if it doesn’t ‘work’ for you personally).

Sonic art

Regulars will know my interest in science and sound, the work I’ve done with Simon van der Walt on WSWEK and the amino piano, so it was great to see Dave House and Charlie Knox take a different slant. Dave’s interface use lab sounds and the voices of those affected by Huntington’s Disease to cycle patterns – but you need to ‘play’ with them. It’s not always clear what icon to click for what effect, but that’s part of the experiment!

Charlie Knox has used a similar idea to the amino piano, but has used different physical parameters to come up with a radically different sound, which he performed on Tuesday night. You can compare some of our sounds ( ALANINE,  GLYCINE,  ISOLEUCINE,  CYSTEINE.) with short clip of Charlie’s work on youtube.

Brave new world

Nothing on this scale has been done in SIPBS before: the team has crossed boundaries of culture, organisation and funding. Science and art attract different people with different mindsets: bringing them together is a risk, a clash of cultures, who knew what the ‘output’ would be when this all started? Maria, Team Chamberlain and Rachel have put another plank over the gap between art and science and its gathering pace: WSWEK, the amino piano and  CMAC recently had an artist in residence. Take a wonder across the planks, maybe the grass will be greener!!



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