Venue: Lumen Gallery, London
Dates: 17 - 27 October
Symposium: 24 October, University College London
‘The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained.’ David Bohm
Since September 2018, Lisa Pettibone has been artist in residence at Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL) following the progress of the Euclid Mission, a European Space Agency initiative to explore the dark universe. Initially driven by the aesthetic implications of invisible structure and forces in space, Pettibone’s creative responses have merged with philosophical research into the nature of perception itself through the writings of philosopher Merleau-Ponty and thinker/physicist David Bohm. The exceptional technology of the Euclid telescope will allow man to peer deeper than ever into space, forming fresh perceptions of the cosmic landscape and testing existing concepts held by scientists and artists alike. Using installation, sculpture and imagery, she questions how we are to imagine this emerging understanding of the universe though human sensory experience.
Pettibone’s Arts Council funded residency included interviews with scientists and engineers from the Euclid team and studying aspects of the VIS instrument that will record over a million unique galaxies and provide crucial evidence of the web-like structure of dark matter through optical distortions called gravitational lensing. Her research included extensive lab and engineering workshop visits, a trip to meet principal Euclid managers at ESA in the Netherlands and attending the annual consortium meeting in Helsinki. In order to promote creative thinking at MSSL Space Lab and get to know the staff, she led eight creative workshops including a collaborative artwork that will be placed on the Euclid spacecraft before launch in 2022. Selected works from these sessions are also on show in the Crypt space. A film about the residency (premiering at the symposium on 24 October, UCL) brings together her experiences and artistic response to this extraordinary mission.
Exploring the benefits of art/science relationships, this event discusses Lisa Pettibone’s year-long residency at Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL) along with collaborator Dr Tom Kitching, science lead on MSSL’s Euclid Mission. Complementing the concurrent exhibition at Lumen Crypt Gallery, London, a short film will be premiered documenting her extensive access to the lab, aesthetic responses that influence her work and creative workshops with MSSL staff. Ben Murray (Kings College London and co-director of Phenotypica) will discuss the unique nature of interdisciplinary collaborations and their potential effect on wider culture. Lumen Studios London (art/science collective) will chair the evening, concluding with a Q&A panel discussion. Drinks and snacks will be served after the film at 7.15pm.
About the Speakers
Prof Tom Kitching has spent 16 years working on data science, astronomy and cosmology. He is Science Lead of the Euclid mission that will map three-quarters of the sky back in time of three-quarters the age of the Universe. He did his undergraduate degree at Imperial in London, his PhD in Edinburgh and worked as a postdoc in Oxford before moving to UCL.
Ben Murray is a computer scientist and Senior Research Associate at Kings College London, applying machine learning to oncology in a clinical setting. Writing software for digital interactive art installations revealing the mechanisms of genetics, he is one-half of the creative partnership Phenotypica (with Neus Torres Tamarit), curating exhibitions and discussions about art, science and creativity.
About Lisa Pettibone
Originally from San Francisco Bay Area, CA, Lisa was trained as a graphic designer and found her way into sculpture via glass making. In 2005 she gained a BA in in 3D Design in Glass from UCA Farnham and in 2018 she graduated from UAL Central Saint Martins with an MA in Art and Science. With an interest in astronomy and physics, her practice investigates hidden forces such as gravity, energy and tension, spontaneously recorded in materials, evoking direct sensory experiences connecting man to his environment. Querying the construct of human perception, her work also explores illusion as a path to understanding.