A Matter of Softness, a solo exhibition by Japan-based artist and researcher Juan M. Castro, will open at the University City Science Center’s Esther Klein Gallery (EKG) on August 26, 2015 and run through September 23rd. An opening reception will be held at EKG on Wednesday, August 26th from 5:00-7:30pm, with a live demonstration by the artist on visualizing artificial membranes grown in vitro using a fluorescence microscope. An Artist Talk will take place on Thursday, August 27th from 12-1pm at Quorum, 3711 Market Street, 8th Floor.
A Matter of Softness focuses on the possible synthesis of new forms of life and the spontaneous transformation of fat into organic microstructures. The exhibit uses biomedia that reflect on artificial life and the potential long-term challenges that it might bring to society.
A Matter of Softness is comprised of two components. The first piece, entitled “Fat Between 2 Worlds,” is an installation created in collaboration with research laboratories in Japan and France over a three-year period. It presents a collection of artificial membranes with unique morphologies grown in vitro. The structures form highly interconnected networks, filamentous morphologies and biogeometrical groupings.
The second part of the exhibition, “Transformation,” presents 3D visualizations of organic structures inspired by the shape deformation of membranes.
The works presented in A Matter of Softness are conceived as extensions of Castro’s wider research on lipid membranes as primordial microenvironments, which many believe to have enabled the emergence of cellular life, and novel experimental microsites central to synthesis of minimal living systems.
Juan M. Castro has been involved in interdisciplinary practices between the fields of media art, microbiology and chemistry. He has a M.A. in Information Design and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Tama University in Japan. Since 2008, he has been presenting his projects internationally in museums, art and science festivals, scientific meetings and academic conferences. He currently works as a research fellow in the Toyota Group at The University of Tokyo.
A Matter of Softness is curated by Angela McQuillan of the Science Center.
About the Science Center
The University City Science Center is a dynamic hub for innovation, and entrepreneurship and technology development in the Greater Philadelphia region. It provides business incubation, programming, lab and office facilities, and support services for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and growing and established companies. The Science Center was the first, and remains the largest, urban research park in the United States. Since it was founded in 1963, graduate organizations and current residents of the University City Science Center’s Port business incubators have created more than 15,000 jobs that remain in the Greater Philadelphia region today and contribute more than $9 billion to the regional economy annually. For more information about the Science Center, go to ucscreview.org.
About the Esther Klein Gallery
The Esther Klein Gallery (EKG), which opened at the Science Center in 1976, uses the creative arts as a platform to explore relationships between art, science and technology. EKG seeks to positively impact the cultural life of both its immediate neighborhood of West Philadelphia and the broader Philadelphia community. EKG programming is designed to explore the range of art, science and technology exhibitions and includes gallery talks, panel discussions, and education programs. For more information, visit http://www.EstherKleinGallery.tumblr.com