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Collaborations in Art and Science

By Mina Zarfsaz

Hundreds of years ago, there was no distinction between the idea of a scientist, an artist, or an engineer. Michelangelo was a sculptor, painter, architect and poet. Similarly, Leonardo da Vinci was a polymath of the Renaissance, who was interested in invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.

We have seen the unification of art, craft, and technology thorough out the Bauhaus School in early 20th century. The Bauhaus was an interdisciplinary, international workshop for ideas, in which diverse opinions, theories and styles coalesced in the search for the New Man, New Architecture and New Living. *

Now, in the 21st century we more than ever long for an amalgamation of disciplines through collaborations and interdisciplinary research.

Some collaborations come in the form of partnerships similar to the way our BioArt Residency is stimulating scientific creativity in conjunction with Arts. In our last post we talked to Ben Doranz, CEO of Integral Molecular for his thoughts on the BioArt Residency at the Science Center and what he thinks of the impact of such collaborations. We have also talked to some of the scientist from Integral Molecular who have been working closely with our current artist resident, Laura Splan, on her experiments.

Tabb, one of the scientists at Integral Molecular, told us about how he sees artists coming to the lab from a bit of a tangent, probing areas where scientists wouldn't think to probe.

“Having someone here who looks at things in a different way and how that gets me to explain our procedures in such a way that they really understand it, helps me step back from my work and actually look at it through somebody else's eyes. “

Tabb Sullivan

Laura Splan at Integral Molecular

Katie, another scientist in the lab adds: “I think the most interesting thing about Laura’s work is that she works with textiles in a non-traditional way; I think people in general don't usually think of textiles such as tapestry or knitting as being art; I do a lot of knitting myself and I've always associated my process with math and science. So, I find if very inspiring that Laura is incorporating tapestries, textiles and the tactile material (cotton and alpaca wool) directly taken from the science that we're doing.”

We are happy to hear how the dialogue between Laura and the scientists in the lab has been inspirational for both parties, and us as well.