Category Archives: Science

Art+Science @ Joint Research Centre, European Commission [event]

The Art & Science Programme of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has launched its fourth edition of Resonances – a two year cycle exploring the nexus of art, science and policy on a topic of priority to the EU.

NaturArchy: Towards a Natural Contract aims to explore – through artistic, scientific and legal expressions – how providing nature and its phenomena with a contract that integrates her juridically into our society, can redefine our anthropocentric attitudes and help us shift persepectives towards an EU Green Deal.

Kickstarting the cycle, a Summer School will take place 20-24th June 2022.
Artists selected from an internatioanl Open Call will be exploring discourse, practices and consequences of NaturArchy together with researchers and scientists from the JRC and EC policymakers.

You’ll find more info, a list of the winning artists, the programme and curatorial statement on the JRC website

The preliminary Summer School programme has also recently been published.

Preliminary JRC SciArt Summer School Programme 2022

Oron Catts on “Post Promethean Art” @ JRC-EC [artist talk]

Talk at the Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Organised by the JRC SciArt project
Tuesday May 24th 2022, 12h CET


Title:  Victimless Leather- A Prototype of Stitch-less Jacket grown in a Technoscientific "Body"
Artists: The Tissue Culture & Art (Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr)
Medium: Biodegradable polymer skin and bone cells from human and mouse
Dimension of original: variable
Date: 2004

Our relationships with the world around us;  with our bodies, with concepts of nature, life, materiality and identity are getting quite messy; there is a sense of impending crisis. The desperate technological attempts to fix things tend to maintain the extractive mindsets that caused many of the issues at hand and exuberate the confusion. To make things even more muddled, the era of post truth seems to take a toll on the ways we read and engage with different epistemologies and ways of doing things. It can be argued that in the last century we developed specific ways of reading and engaging with different disciplines and their respected epistemologies. This can be referred to as idealised social contracts, in practical in regard to the relationships with the idea of truth. This talk will explore and probe what role art that deals with emerging knowledge and technologies of life can play, within the messiness of the 21st century. To do so, it will use different interpretations to Promethean mythologies and narratives, ranging from foresight to techno-utopianism. Drawing on art projects developed at SymbioticA and elsewhere, the idea of Post Promethean Art will be suggested.

Oron Catts is the Co-Founder and Director of SymbioticA: The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Human Sciences at the University of Western Australia (UWA). SymbioticA was awarded the inaugural Golden Nica for Hybrid Arts in the Prix Ars Electronica in 2007, and the WA Premier’s Award in 2008. In 1996 he founded the Tissue Culture & Art Project with Ionat Zurr. Catts was a Professor at Large in Contestable Design at the Royal College for the Arts UK, a visiting Scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University and a Visiting Professor at the School of Art, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki. Catts curated thirteen exhibitions, published/co-edited four books, published more than eighty book chapters and journal articles. His art projects featured in venues such MoMA NY, Centre Pompidou, Mori art Museum, Science Gallery London and Dublin, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Ars Electronica, National Art Museum of China, and more.

This talk will be held in person at the JRC in Ispra, and live-streamed via WEBEX. The talk is accessible to externals.

To register for this talk and access connection details please write to

Title:  Victimless Leather- A Prototype of Stitch-less Jacket grown in a Technoscientific “Body”
Artists: The Tissue Culture & Art (Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr)
Medium: Biodegradable polymer skin and bone cells from human and mouse
Dimension of original: variable
Date: 2004

[Online Talk] Beyond Black Swans · Educating towards unpredictability to inhabit hypercomplexity

Online Talk by Prof. Piero Dominici
Join us on 31 March 2022, 12:30-14h CET

“We will debate the illusions of the hyper-technological, hyperconnected civilization and its ongoing anthropological transformation, including: 1) the “tyranny of concreteness” and “great mistake”: the belief that all problems can be solved by delegating solutions solely to technology, and that (hyper)complexity can be measured, managed and predicted through data, algorithms, formulas and statistics. 2) The fracture between the sciences and the humanities, and between the natural and the artificial represented by “false dichotomies”. 3) The illusions of social control and elimination of error. 4) the vision of an ordered, regular society occasionally interrupted by “black swans”, without recognizing that emergency, error, uncertainty and unpredictability are intrinsic to all complex adaptive systems, which follow an irreversible arrow of time.”

Prof. Piero Dominici is a sociologist and philosopher, Fellow of the World Academy of Art & Science (WAAS), UN Invited Expert and Speaker, is Scientific Director of the International Research and Education Program CHAOS and Director of Scientific Listening at the Global Listening Center. He teaches Public Communication, Sociology of Social Complexity, Sociology of Cultural and Communicative Processes and Intelligence. Complex Systems and Networks at the University of Perugia. As scientific researcher, educator, author and international speaker, his main areas of expertise and interest encompass (hyper)complexity, interdisciplinarity and knowledge sharing in the fields of education, systems theory, technology, innovation, intelligence, security, citizenship and communication. Member of the MIUR Register of Revisers, (Italian Ministry of Higher Education and Research), of the IPSA (International Political Science Association) and of the WCSA (World Complexity Science Academy), he is also standing member of several of the most prestigious national and international scientific committees. Author of numerous essays, scientific articles and books. He is involved in research, education and international projects, including the EU-funded Horizon project (2020-2023).

This talk is part of the series “Changing the Ground: Reconsidering the Post-Covid Worldview” organised by JRC SciArt project in collaboration with the European School of Administration.

If you would like to register for the talk, please send us an email at

Download Full brochure here

Related talks:
“Changing the Ground. Quantum Ecologies” by Derrick de Kerckhove, 28/10/2021
“What next for Science Communication in Times of Planetary Crisis?” by Michael John Gorman, 16/12/2021
“Who is Afraid of Artificial Intelligence? Posthumanism, Technology and Society”, byFrancesca Ferrando, 20/01/2022
“Quantum Theory as Critical Theory:  Entanglement and the Politics of Social Physics”, byAlexander Wendt, 10/02/2022
“Re-thinking Race, Identity and Migration: Cultural Inquiry as Curatorial Strategy”, by Nicola Triscott, 17/03/2022

[Online Talk] Re-thinking Race, Identity and Migration: Cultural Inquiry as Curatorial Strategy

Online Talk by Dr. Nicola Triscott
Join us on 17 March 2022, 12:30-14h CET.

When many people think of an art gallery or museum, they picture a serious place where visitors stand quietly contemplating rows of paintings on white walls. But art institutions are far more than containers and displayers of art objects – they are complex reflections of the cultures that produced them and continue to produce them. Directors of art institutions are increasingly aware of their role  within the broader social, political, and cultural landscape, and the responsivity that is needed to serve the intellectual, cultural and social needs of their diverse communities. Most also struggle with issues of social relevance, elitism, and ownership. My talk will explore an approach to directing a contemporary art institution in which ‘curating’ is centred in developing cultural collective inquiries that involve artists, scientists, researchers, audiences and participants in addressing an important societal topic. In this case study, the topic is our shifting perceptions of race, identity and migration

Nicola Triscott PhD is Director/CEO of FACT Liverpool, the UK’s leading organisation for the support and exhibition of art and film that embraces new technology. Previously, she was founding Director of Arts Catalyst (1994-2019), a London-based art and research organisation. A curator and researcher specializing in the intersections between art, science, technology and society, she lectures and publishes internationally, and has edited books on art and technology in the Arctic, art and space, physics in culture, and ecological art.

This talk is part of the series “Changing the Ground: Reconsidering the Post-Covid Worldview” organised by JRC SciArt project in collaboration with the European School of Administration.

If you would like to register for the talk, please send us an email at

Download Full brochure here

Feeling Science: A Theatre Experiment

An art-science theatre play about women in science, commissioned by the Joint Research Centre – European Commission.

The theatre & science initiative Parola di Donna@JRC is culminating 1.5 years of deep cross-disciplinary work at the intersections of artistic inquiry and science for policy, with the play

“Feeling Science: un esperimento teatrale”
Friday 11th of March 2022
Teatro Santucci, Varese (IT)

 These are complex times for our European history, and we have personally felt the complexity of the relationship between science and policy. We need to find a new order, a new way to deal with the cognitive power that science offers policy. At this very moment, as a group of women, scientists who work to support European policy, we feel the urgency to step on stage and challenge ourselves. Western theatrical tradition has long given us female bodies that are sacrificed in the name of new social orders, starting from Antigone and Iphigenia. So what happens if political and scientific language meet in the ritual field of theatre, using female bodies, for once not as scapegoats, but bodies that are thinkers, agents, writers of a new “logos”? Conscious of these nuances and issues, we are trying to understand how to make them interact in a new way, that allows a new TECHNE to make itself known; using artists and scientists as willing guinea pigs, as human bodies with agency in a ritual space. A techne that in fact uses rationale and absurdity, consciousness and the subconscious, and scientific and emotive language, in new, possible, combinations…

Project by Angela Dematté and Simona Gonella.
Jointly directed by Simona Gonella and Andrea Chiodi.
Screenplay by Angela Dematté.
Assistant playwright – Gianluca Madaschi.
Scientific counsel provided by JRC SciArt.
Video recording directed by Fabio Bilardo.
Light design by Marco Grisa. Music by Ferdinando Baroffio.

Joint creation and performance by JRC researchers:
Sandra Coecke, Naouma Kourti, Matina Halkia, Alba Bernini, Isabella Cerutti, Rosanna di Gioia, Agnes Hegedus, Nicole Ostlaender, Joanna Bartnicka in collaboration with actress Franca Maria de Monti

Organised by JRC SciArt in collaboration with Parola di Donna Varese.

Language: Italian

Tickets are fully booked. The play will be performed again in October 2022. Stay tuned!

KLAS Workshop @ MPI *November 27th/28th, 2017

1st KLAS Workshop

Knowledge Link Through Art & Science

Polyhedra is pleased to announce that registration for the first KLAS Workshop “AESTHETICS get SYNTHETIC: Knowledge Link Through Art & Science” is now open and can be accessed from the following link:

The workshop is an opportunity to bring together scholars and practitioners to jointly discuss and reflect on contents, approaches and methodologies that draw the link between synthetic biology and artistic research and how those can synergically interact by mutually interrogating and reconsidering their methodologies and modes of operation in an Artist in Residence program like KLAS. In this workshop we are particularly interested in discussions and perspectives that explore how different institutions, organizations and interest groups with relevant expertise and knowledge of research, innovation and education address contemporary challenges of future developments in and beyond their respective knowledge silos.

There is an additional Call for Posters. Selected posters will be on view throughout the two days of workshop. Their presentation will take place at 16h on Tuesday 28th of November.

The workshop will take place in the Main hall of the Max Planck Campus in Potsdam-Golm the afternoon of Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th of November 2017.

There will be a live-stream for those who won’t be able to attend.

With the participation of

Sabine Adler
Arren Bar-Even
Christoph von Braun
Adriaan Eeckels
Peter Fratzl
Detlev Ganten
Reinhard Lipowsky
Agnes Meyer-Brandis
Roger Malina
Darian Meacham
Heike Catherina Mertens
Martina Münch
Bryan Nowack
Ingeborg Reichle
Hans-Jörg Rheinberger
Tom Robinson
Maximilian Schich
Nathalie Singer
Otavio Schipper & Sergio Krakowski
Volker Stollorz
Antje Tepperwien
Alex de Vries
Lothar Willmitzer
Siegfried Zielinski


When artists get involved in research, science benefits

File 20170814 1313 ova2e3
The authors have collaborated on an Antarctic research project, investigating tiny ice crystals and their role in climate.
Gabby O’Connor’s Studio Antarctica/Johanna Mechem, CC BY-ND

Craig Stevens and Gabby O’Connor

When artists and scientists get together, creative sparks can fly. Collaborative sci-art projects are increasingly popular and one obvious benefit is the greater visibility of the research through the artist’s work.

Our project explored scientific and artistic aspects of Antarctic ice crystals.

But what’s in it for the scientists? It reinvigorates a curiosity about the system and brings an outsider perspective – but one that is expert in observing.

Taking a different perspective

We draw on a six-year collaboration to look at how science benefits from embracing a wider perspective on creativity. Our joint project started with an art-science speed-dating event, aimed at building collaborative teams.

Our connection centres around an Antarctic research project investigating the formation of platelet ice, which plays an important role in the annual growth cycle of sea ice around the Antarctic continent. In particular, the science looks at how tiny ice crystals influence much larger climate processes.

Craig Stevens in Antarctica: tiny crystals of ice help explain how sea ice surrounding the continent grows and decays.
Brett Grant, CC BY-ND

We were able to build on the intrinsic fascination people have with Antarctica and the interest in climate science. The scientists acted as a conduit of research to the artist. This added another layer of meaning to the artwork and an entry point to conversations around Antarctic ocean processes and climate change. This loop of enquiry seems to happen differently in art-science collaborations.

Broadening creativity

Our collaboration has evolved from arm-chair slide shows, through cross-disciplinary participation and Antarctic expeditions, to a final stage that includes a proliferation of ideas around art, education and science.

The benefits to science can be difficult to articulate but chief among them is a reminder of the importance of open-ended exploration. Another is to be asked questions by someone who spent even more time simply looking at the object of scientific inquiry than the scientists themselves.

The first phase of our project was to find a catalyst to connect enthusiastic creative people. A second phase followed with the science team taking basic components of an art work (a large paper sculpture) with them to Antarctica and assembling them as they saw fit, much like a piece of science equipment. This had impact, but was probably detrimental to the power balance in the collaboration because it left the scientists in control of both the art and the science. It turned out that the scientists didn’t follow instructions, and instead responded to the constraints of the working environment – much like the art practice.

Artist Gabby O’Connor spent hours photographing platelet ice retrieved from underneath Antarctica’s sea ice.
Gabby O’Connor’s Antarctica Studio/Craig Stevens, CC BY-ND

The next step involved getting the artist to Antarctica, embedded with the science. This had to be navigated carefully to ensure that the art retained its own priority as well as collaborating with the science, rather than being simply co-located.

A cornerstone to this was a request that the artist should make scientific measurements and, by doing so, added a whole new dimension where by there was an art perspective on the actual scientific process.

History of sci-art collaboration

In the past, artists were often involved in research purely to document the science. Captain James Cook took the painter William Hodges to polar extremes where he captured Antarctic seascapes. When the paintings were prepared for an exhibition in 2004, X-radiography revealed a different and unfinished view of icebergs in a rough sea.

Edward Wilson, a doctor and artist, accompanied Robert Falcon Scott to the pole and beyond. In some ways, these people acted as impartial sounding boards for the explorers and scientists at the time. The ease with which photography is achieved today has reduced the need for this role, but has something been lost along the way?

Much has been written about how facts alone do not convince people. A sideways approach that comes from an entirely different artistic perspective might therefore have a chance of penetrating established boundaries.

The art of science communication

Platelet ice.
Gabby O’Connor, CC BY-ND

Where once science was its own domain, this is no longer the case. Implications of research findings need to connect with broader audiences. But how can you explain something you barely understand yourself to multiple publics?

Analogues with popular culture can bridge this gap. With around 90% of New Zealanders and even more Australians engaging with art, it provides a useful conduit to science.

Our collaboration was initially largely unfunded and viewed as an irrelevant curiosity. However, support built quickly, to the point that the project was used to open a recent national Antarctic Science Conference.

Through all the phases of our work, we made connections with young people. We had sufficient support from teachers to develop workshops and extra-curricular activities for schools, and the climate topic made this part of our engagement more effective.

Platelet ice builds up on the underside of sea ice and has to be sampled through carefully melted holes in the ice.
Gabby O’Connor, CC BY-ND

What is in it for science?

Lots, it turns out. The scientist is reminded of the power of curiosity, something that can get lost in times of targeted research. The artist also asks questions based on hours and hours of observing the system at hand. Somewhat unexpectedly in our case, the artist became a documentor of the work in a way that we hadn’t previously achieved.

Added benefits are embedded with the next generation of scientists who will more readily span the divide, to the extent that they may not know a gap once existed. Also, part of the future science cohort may exist simply because of the inspiration found in art that connects with science.

The ConversationWe are at a time where the entire collective knowledge of our species is available with a stab of a fingertip. It becomes possible, necessary even, to leap across disciplines to generate new ideas.

Craig Stevens, Associate Professor in Ocean Physics and Gabby O’Connor, Artist, PhD candidate, interdisciplinary researcher

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Call for Artists – KLAS Residency Program 2017

There are two Artist in Residence programmes that will take place at the MPI for Colloids and Interfaces, the MPI for Molecular Plant Physiology (both located in Golm, Germany) and the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). The Call is open until January 31st, 2017.

AESTHETICS get SYNTHETIC: Knowledge Link through Art and Science (KLAS)

Synthetic biology is a thriving field at the interface between
molecular and cell biology and engineering disciplines. It is
predominantly based on design, construction and analysis of new
functions and unprecedented biological systems while it also allows a
better understanding of existing biological phenomena by means of its
synthetic “reconstruction”. AESTHETICS get SYNTHETIC: Knowledge Link
through Art and Science (KLAS) main goal is to initiate collaborative
artistic and scientific exchange to foster transdisciplinary dialogues
as well as to contribute to a wider understanding and appreciation of
synthetic biology.

The knowledge link established during the residency period intends to
influence both the work of the participant research groups and the
resident artists. This bidirectional feedback is expected to provide a
highly fertile ground for a dialogue that should also attract the
attention of non-specialized audiences much more easily than purely
scientific orientated discourses.

Artists interested in exploring the aesthetic and discursive
possibilities that are derived from the connections between innovative
creative practices, new materialistic approaches and synthetic biology
research are invited to submit an application.

This competition is open for artists to propose all kind of innovative
concepts and ideas in the field of visual art, interactive art,
digital music/sound art, sculptural art, hybrid art, performance &
choreography, architecture and photography.

The call is open to artists internationally to apply for a residency
program at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and the
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, both located in
Golm (DE) as well as the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and
Biotechnology Institute of the University of Groningen (NL).

The residency programme

There will be two Artist-in-Residence stays within the time period
June to September 2017. The artists are expected to be present for a
minimum of two weeks in each of the two locations (Potsdam-Golm and
Groningen). Both Artist-in-Residence stays are intermitted by a
private time for the artist to develop the final project. It is at the
chosen hosting institution for the second Artist-in-Residence stay
where the work will be showcased later on. A commitment of the artist
to deliver an art-piece within one year after the starting date of the
residency will be requested.

Artists will be free to work on their own projects but will also be
expected to interact with their colleagues, participate in the
lectures and group talks during their stay and document/ share their
experiences for both academic and general audiences in an online form.

The artist will be expected to be in-residence for 2+2 weeks between
June and September 2017.



art and science of eclipses

In a new paper for the Royal Society Blatchford has combed the Western artistic tradition for representations of eclipse. Here, he reveals how science and symbolism worked together over seven centuries to convey and understand the magic of the moment when the moon embraces the sun.

Blatchford points out, “the artist remains the most accurate witness of an eclipse, whose individual optical effects may appear and vanish in an eye-blink.”

The Sun Embraces the Moon (Eclipse of the Sun) - J.J. GrandvilleAstronomers in search of eclipses. Engraving illustrating “The Devil in Paris”, Jean Grandville (1803-1847), publisher George Sand, Charles Nodier, Balzac, Léon Gozlan and P.J. Stahl (pseudonyme de Jules Hetzel). 1845-46. Roger-Viollet / Topfot


Outside Color: Perceptual Science and the Puzzle of Color in Philosophy [book suggestion]

Ouside Colour_cover


Is color real or illusory, mind independent or mind dependent? Does seeing in color give us a true picture of external reality? The metaphysical debate over color has gone on at least since the seventeenth century. In this book, M. Chirimuuta draws on contemporary perceptual science to address these questions. Her account integrates historical philosophical debates, contemporary work in the philosophy of color, and recent findings in neuroscience and vision science to propose a novel theory of the relationship between color and physical reality.

Chirimuuta offers an overview of philosophy’s approach to the problem of color, finds the origins of much of the familiar conception of color in Aristotelian theories of perception, and describes the assumptions that have shaped contemporary philosophy of color. She then reviews recent work in perceptual science that challenges philosophers’ accounts of color experience. Finally, she offers a pragmatic alternative whereby perceptual states are understood primarily as action-guiding interactions between a perceiver and the environment. The fact that perceptual states are shaped in idiosyncratic ways by the needs and interests of the perceiver does not render the states illusory. Colors are perceiver-dependent properties, and yet our awareness of them does not mislead us about the world. Colors force us to reconsider what we mean by accurately presenting external reality, and, as this book demonstrates, thinking about color has important consequences for the philosophy of perception and, more generally, for the philosophy of mind.

About the Author

M. Chirimuuta is Assistant Professor in the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh.

find out more…

AFM nanoscratching on silica substrate.

© 2014 Associazione Culturale Polyhedra · Via della Marcigliana 561, I-00138 Rome ·

Header image: Xavier González d'Ègara, detail of 'La obra inacabada' (2012)