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The ninth instalment of London LASER took place last month, guest organised by Brett Wilson and chaired by Barbara Hawkins. They are both founding members of ‘Project Dialogue’, a research group bringing together artists and scientists to explore commonalities across research in the arts and sciences. With the recent launch of their co-edited publication ‘Art, Science and Cultural Understanding’ the event presented a group of Art/Science practitioners talking about their work, how they became interested in transdisciplinary research and how they go about working in collaborative ventures.

The range of speakers was diverse and engaging, and included Iain Biggs, Visiting Research Fellow at Bath Spa University and UWE, Shelley James, Artists and teacher at the Institute of Making UCL, Helen Pynor, Artist-in-Residence at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Simon Read, Artists and member of the Art and Environment Network of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management and Brett Wilson, founding member of Project Dialogue and ‘artist in residence’ at UWE.

With the range of topics covering ecology, organ transplants, life, death, plasticity and more, the event was a showcase of Art and Science at its best. Highlights of the evening included Shelley James on her work using glass as a medium to create metaphors in form. Her practice transforms 2D into 3D, such as printing images of the human retina within a glass sphere, allowing the scientists she collaborates with to become “specific about the edges of their metaphors”.

On a similar theme Brett Wilson focused on specific metaphors used in scientific language, touching on the link between motion and human understanding of time. Suggesting this relationship is due to the specific brain region responsible for processing motion and no known region existing for time.

A presentation with a morbid fascination saw Helen Pynor describe her interests in organ transplantation through previous project ‘Pig Heart Performance’ and her current residency exploring death as a process and not purely a moment in time. Pynor demonstrates the longevity of dying by culturing ‘living’ cells found in supermarket bought chicken allowing them to grow and multiply.

The evening ended with a discussion panel between all the speakers, in which Simon Read more closely described the challenges associated with artists working on the ground, as well as the ecological pioneer plant, samphire, and its tasty properties.

The next London LASER will be taking place Tuesday 16 June 2015.  As the 10th in the series and the last one for this academic year rather than presentations from guest speakers, we have invited our eclectic audience to suggest short presentations, provocations, activities and discussions….

London LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) is a series of evening gatherings hosted by University of the Arts London (Central Saint Martins MA Art and Science and the Lens) and University of Westminster (Broad Vision research and learning), in association with Leonardo/ISAST (the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology).

For more information and tickets visit London LASER

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