New exhibition to showcase art inspired by scientific research

17 May 2021

Ed Devane and APC Microbiome’s project The Invisible Made Visible. Image: SFI

What do self-driving cars and subsea instruments see in their surroundings? A new multidisciplinary exhibition from SFI is exploring these ideas.

Members of the public have been invited to engage with scientific research through an artistic lens at a new virtual Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) exhibition. It’s called the STEAM Art Collaboration and will kick off this Thursday evening (20 May).

The exhibition will feature five commissioned artworks that bridge the science, technology, engineering, art and maths (STEAM) disciplines. Researchers from five SFI research centres – APC Microbiome, Connect, iCRAG, Lero and FutureNeuro – worked with artists Shevaun Doherty, Ed Devane, 1iing Heaney, Peter Nash and David Beattie to create the artworks.

Their inspiration draws from research on AI, neuroscience, PCR testing, applied geosciences and quantum communications. For example, iCRAG and Heaney worked together on a virtual reality, 3D-animated film called Caibleadh that places the viewer in a position typically occupied by a scientific instrument in the ocean.

An image of bubbles on the surface of the ocean at sunset in pink and purple hues.

Still from Caibleadh by 1iing Heaney. Image: SFI

Another project, Machine’s Eye View by Lero and Nash, explores how a self-driving car sees its surroundings, while APC Microbiome and Doherty’s project, The Invisible Made Visible, explains the scientific process of Covid-19 testing through the creative process of lino printing.

The STEAM Art Collaboration is funded by SFI’s Discover Primary Science and Maths programme and in part by The Arts Council.

At the launch event on Thursday, attendees will get access to conversational pieces with the artists and researchers, as well as the 3D virtual exhibition space. This space is set to stay open throughout summer.

“This new collaboration provides the public with access to science in an engaging and educational environment, highlighting the many important connections between science and the arts,” said Dr Ruth Freeman, director of science for society at SFI.

“The five artists have interpreted their concepts in a variety of exciting ways, which are informed by research but are not purely explanatory in nature. The aim of the initiative is to captivate and inspire people to learn more and I would like to congratulate all those involved in creating these works of art.”

You can register for the launch of the STEAM Art Collaboration here.

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021