25 March 2021: Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) today launched the STEAM Art Collaboration. This new initiative aims to inspire and engage primary school students, and the public, with research through the commission of five artworks which unite the disciplines of art and science.
Artists Shevaun Doherty, Ed Devane, 1iing Heaney, Peter Nash and David Beattie were chosen following a competitive selection process in 2020. The artists have worked in close collaboration with researchers from five SFI Research Centres; APC Microbiome, CONNECT, iCRAG, Lero and FutureNeuro, to produce five artworks which creatively interpret an array of scientific topics. The artworks are informed by research on PCR testing, quantum communications, applied geosciences, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and neuroscience and are presented through a range of art mediums. Each of the five projects is specific and unique to the artist and researchers involved.
iCRAG scientists Dr Mark Coughlan, Andy Trafford and Eoghan Daly are working in collaboration with artist 1iing Heaney on Caibleadh as part of iCRAG's geomarine research.
Caibleadh, an old Irish word meaning "otherworldly voices heard on the sea in the night", is a VR 3D animated film which explores the environment of the ocean. Using engaging colours, textures, objects, and sound, the viewer is positioned in the place of a scientific instrument. We follow its descent into the sea to explore an unknown and alien world. This is inspired by the research process of iCRAG where researchers deploy instruments at the surface of the water and record their descent into the unknown. This film combines data gathered by scientific equipment, underwater photographs, and creative interpretation to visualise the ecosystem, formations, and movement on the seafloor. ‘Caibleadh’ details a speculative environment where technological interventions interact with natural entities.
This film allows space for audio and visual conversations between natural, mechanical, and mythological creatures to take place. Under the waves, animals, machinery, robotic arms and sea creatures interact with soft and delicate movement. The accompanying soundscape, developed in collaboration with the musician Tiiva, further combines sounds from field recordings, hydrophones, and folk song. This combination of sensorial audio-visual elements will make visible the complex ecosystem and formations previously unknown under the water.
The project is funded under SFI’s Discover Primary Science and Maths programme, and in part by The Arts Council.
Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland said: “This new collaboration through the SFI Discovery Primary Science and Maths Programme provides students with access to science in an engaging and educational environment, highlighting the many important connections between science and the arts. 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 children to learn more and I would like to congratulate all those involved in creating these works of art.”
A virtual exhibition of all five artworks will take place for schools and the public to explore the collection and to delve into the stories behind each commission. In tandem with the exhibition, the collaboration between the SFI Research Centres, artists and the SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths programme will launch educational resources to enable primary school students to investigate the research topics further and to inspire attendees to create their own artworks informed by science, technology, engineering and maths.
The final works of art will be showcased for primary schools nationwide through two interactive virtual exhibitions taking place on Wednesday 12th May and Thursday 13th May 2021. To register for the event teachers can sign up via Eventbrite at http://sfi-art-collaboration.eventbrite.com. Queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
A public virtual exhibition will run from Thursday 20th May, with an evening launch taking place on this date from 7-9pm. Registration for this event will also be available via: https://bit.ly/3cVVfms. Following the exhibition all five art pieces, information on the projects, and their associated resources will be available at: http://www.sfi.ie/engagement/art-collaboration/.
See iCRAG's Earth Science in the Arts Public Engagement programme for further information on how iCRAG scientists and engineers collaborate with artists.