Art and science are not so difficult to associate with one another since there is so much technology involved in creating art. But the marriage between art and science is about more than just the creation, it’s about inspiration meeting functionality. Artists have been taking queues from science for years. Art consistently meets science in the techno-colored photographs taken of the universe as it expands. It can be found in the way that cells, micro organisms and ice crystals form the most precise yet masterfully chaotic of patterns. A certain aesthetic beauty can even be found in the MRI of a human brain.
Recently, science has found compatibility within the textile industry. The University of the Arts in London and a few Nobel Prize winning scientists and research fellows from Central Saint Martins College have combined forces in order to form Nobel Textiles. Each artist has been paired up with a scientist for inspiration and will put their work on display at London’s Design Festival on 14-21 September 2008.
This is a truly unique event. Five textile designers and five scientists have been formally paired up, neither one really knowing much about the other. The result is some of the most innovative and functional textiles that have been created in a long time. A few of the artists-scientist couples include:
Rachel Wingfield is introducing “Metabolic Media.” She takes her inspiration from studies in ATP energy conversion done by John E. Walker, and more recent work done in the areas of architecture, agriculture, sensor technologies and geotextiles. Using lace and weaving techniques, she hopes to create small structures from all new composite materials that will enable and promote urban gardening. Examples will include specially designed stakes for plants to grow along and even small collapsible greenhouses which can save space, protect plants and enable gardens to grow virtually anywhere.
Rachel Kelly inspired by Tim Hunt’s “Now You See It – Now You Don’t” report delves into how Cyclin B appears and then disappears leaving a memory imprint on the DNA of cells. He made this discovery through the study of sea urchin eggs. Rachel is focusing on a unbounded circular theme. She will be using new specialized drawing and printing techniques on a medium of paper lanterns and transparent wallpaper.
Philippa Brock’s work is motivated by Sir Aaron Klug’s research on viruses. Klug discovered that a three-dimensional virus model could be created based on information obtained by studying two-dimensional viruses. Philippa Brock has been experimenting with the creation of three-dimensional textile structures by folding and weaving two-dimensional pieces upon themselves.
Kristin Von Glasow has created a documentary on the scientist-designer collaborations which can be viewed from the Nobel Textiles website. The festival will be held at the ICA and Saint James’ Park.