|Rules & Regs © Elizabeth Murton|
Brain Collage © Paula Salischiker’s
And, in comparison to cosmology, it goes back to when everything was just a big soup of things. With the big bang at the beginning of the universe and the beginning of life on earth, it is suggestive of the time when things were not differentiated and had developed the diversity of functioning live forms and structures that surround us today.
EM: For me, science and art are about exploring; seeking understanding of the world around us and expressing possibilities (or sometimes ruling them out). I think ‘science’ and ‘art’ are just massive topics, and difficult to define. To summarise two massive topics to allow discussion, you could say, does science: testable knowledge; and art: created for thought and/ or emotion/ expression; have a relationship? Yes. They both seek - the difference is science strives to be testable. Interesting both the science topics I have been looking at in my own practice are difficult to test, on the fore front of our knowledge. Theoretical physics relies somewhat on computer programmes testing theories. Perhaps this lack of visual and physical representation in everyday live is what attracted me: visualizing the invisible. Perhaps this is one way in which these types of collaborations are mutually beneficial.
Soupa © Liliana Sanchez
Speaking briefly to Ed Johns this morning, he is arranging his research for presentation, I brought up some interesting projects and colour experiments for him. Provoking thought for him as well as me through our discussions.
© Edward John
CP: In the lead up to the exhibition you have held a series of ‘Tea Party Discussions’ on and around the topic and managed a continuous blog promoting the active exchange of dialogue and debate. Within this show there seems to be a re-thinking of the exhibition as the manifestation of the final ‘event’ to something more process orientated. Through your curating how have you tried to extend the exhibition format and make it more interactive?
EM: My practice is process lead and I like to leave the construction and the materials exposed. Perhaps it is the same here. I have left all the ‘nuts and bolts’; the thinking and discussion. My work is often about potential, representing possible for movement and change. I hope this exhibition opens this up too, and does not tell people what is what, but allows them the space to think. This links to your previous question, as it is about other ways to engage the viewer.
The thought possibilities and the scope of the project emerged especially with the tea parties. The two different discussion groups added completely new dimensions to the debate. The rolling discussions provided a longer period of development and further engaged with the ideas around the show. Extending the exhibition format to have a larger time element where it has existed, not just when it is physically on display, seemed a natural form for it to take. The ideas literally encompass space and time, and even with this long development time, we have barely even scratched the surface!
The blog seemed like another natural extension of the project in time. With curating and researching lots of thoughts and links come up, it seems a shame not to offer these elements, especially as it is about discovery and process. A blog is a great communication tool. (The Tea Parties will be available to listen to in the exhibition).
Not to Scale © Elizabeth Murton
CP: For this show you have collaborated with psychologist Kaidy Stautz to create a sculpture inspired by Gray’s Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality (1970). You have also collaborated with physicist Bobby Antonio to create a wall piece inspired by his research into 'quantum communication in a spin chain'. Can you tell us more about these two works?
EM: With the psychology inspired piece, 'Not to Scale,' it was interesting working through the ideas and trying not being too didactic about the theory as it already has a visual form. Gray’s Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of personality (1982, 2000) can be represented within a circumplex, with orthogonal lines each representing the spectrum of a trait, for example impulsivity to self-control, or extraversion to introversion. An individual’s placement within the circumplex would be dependent on the interaction between separate traits. The theory has a biological basis, linking the traits anxiety and impulsivity to the reactivity of underlying brain systems.
As Kaidy began explaining how to interpret the diagram it became more mysterious. How you relate to the piece also depends on the experimental definitions and values you ascribe it. So the boundaries of the theory vary again. I studied psychology and I am interested in understanding humanity, personality and how we work. I am not sure it is as linear as we would like it to be.
|Not to Scale © Elizabeth Murton|
The idea of the 'spinning' has immediate visual connections, spinning tops, dancing, movement. The particles are in a chain. Each individual particle has a spin. The movement of the particles which make the spin however is a mysterious internal property which we do not have any analogies for our world. Bobby describes his research below;
Installation Shot © Elizabeth Murton
This idea of unpredictable movement is captured in this new installation. The ink 'spin' drawings appear on paper which itself looks as though it is moving. The ink is the trace of the movement, not the source which is, apparently, very quantum. The paper's form and shape, also imply the space where the spin is, is different from our ideas of space in our world. Some of the drawings are obscured, referencing the unpredictability not only of the electrons, but also the quantum world they exist within.
Detail of Indevelopment, 2008 © Elizabeth Murton
CP: Within your own practice you explore methods of construction, specifically: “textiles, weaving, architecture, psychology and theoretical physics.” How does theory help you to explore the capabilities of materials?
EM: In this exhibition my main material has been paper and ink. It wasn't a conscious decision from the start, but both pieces naturally evolved onto paper. It really has been a pleasure working with such simple and elegant materials. Paper is inexpensive, not precious, but part of everyday. As my materials often are.
The theory provides limits, within which I can then use to structure the ideas and ascribe them onto materials. The materials I often like to push and pull them away from their natural purpose. With the quantum piece it is a subtle change of use of lining paper, which is repeated and becomes dramatic.
Spinbang © Elizabeth Murton
The paper on the large quantum piece took some manipulating, coercing it into curves and waves. This goes against it's straight fibres and limited elasticity of the paper, as quantum science seems to avoid being understood and predictable! It is however a fabric of sorts, and I believe it starts to take on much more of that element of movement and flow in the installation. Much like the tape in Balint's and Hugh's work, and the fabric in Anna's.
Can © Elizabeth Murton
EM: This will be a very interesting event. The salon event will explore the idea of a theory of everything, a concept in theoretical physics, and the relationships that develop between art and science. Each speaker will give a brief introduction to their specialist areas followed by open discussion. It will be a unique opportunity to question the experts and present your own views.
Speakers will be Dr David S Berman, Reader in Theoretical Physics at Queen Mary College, recent collaborations have included the Cartier award winning project with artist Jordan Wolfson at the 2009 London Frieze Art Fair and he is now working with Turner prize winning sculptor Grenville Davey;. Dr Berman will present an introduction to the notion of unification in fundamental physics leading up to a description of the peak of our current understanding of nature, which goes by the name of M- theory.
Adrian Holme, a Biologist and Lecturer in Visual theory, Camberwell College of Art & Design, and UCA, Maidstone, and convenor of the Research Cluster in Art, Science and Culture. In his talk, Adrian will consider aspects of the relationship between art and science - initially a unified enterprise during the early European Renaissance. Do art and science really form the distinct ‘two cultures’ described by CP Snow in 1959? What role does art and imagination (and Romanticism) have in relation to science and culture?
Bobby Antonio, PhD student researching quantum computation at University College London. His talk will present a brief overview of quantum physics, an extremely important and successful yet counter-intuitive theory. The talk will aim to give a short introduction for those not familiar with quantum physics, highlighting the reasons why many people, including Einstein, found the concepts hard to accept, and why it has had such a profound effect on disciplines outside science, such as philosophy and art.
Salon places will be limited, so early booking is advisable.
Further details on exhibition website.
To book please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
EM: It is about engagement, discussion and critical context. Core Gallery has a great atmosphere as it is surrounded by people (literally as our studios surround the gallery) who are committed artists.
Engine ChatChat sprang from my need for discussion and sharing of ideas. You might propose that the tea party debates are in fact a spin off of this, but the item on the agenda is not someone’s practice but a theory in science. As the artist Helen Pynor said, who was at a Tea Party Debate said, art can provide science with critical discourse. After all, science is just one methodology for understanding.
Core Gallery is a great space for curatorial and artistic experimentation. Being in a place with a great, supportive gallery team- Rosalind Davis, Gillian Best Powell, Charlie Norwood, to name but a few, means you can take risks and... learn. This is so important. The over gentrification of these areas means that it will drive this type of space out. The team and great ideas at Core rely on the being Deptford; the affordability and artist run spaces in general allow us to push, take risks and create artistic capital. If we can’t afford the space. We will go else where. I think this is an issue London needs to address.
EM: All new ideas are top secret for now, one thing I will guarantee is more science-art collaborations. I have more ideas for quantum derived pieces too. More Engine and more Tea Party discussions!
EM: Thank you, great questions.
NB: Please note, I am not a scientist and whilst I try to be accurate I might have got a thing or two down inaccurately here!!