Our ENGAGE project with the The Number Shop launched for the 2015 Edinburgh International Science Festival showcasing a wide range of results of the collaborations between TNS studio artists and scientists. The exhibition, Primordial Soup ran for a two week period from the 4th-19th April 2015. The exhibition displayed a diverse range of interdisciplinary work experimenting with a range of contemporary scientific research with work constantly evolving throughout the exhibition period.
Primordial Soup: Open Studio Evenings
22nd April 2015
Over the 2 weeks of the 2015 Edinburgh International Science Festival The Number Shop’s Primordial Soup exhibition was open daily displaying a diverse range of art and science collaborations. Selected open studio evenings took place throughout the exhibition period where visitors were able to have a drink, enjoy the work and talk to the artists about the project. The open evenings also allowed for the artistic process to be both accessible and approachable.
Here are some of the photographs taken from the open evenings and also a glimpse into how the exhibition evolved.
Primordial Soup: An Evolving Exhibition
15th April 2015
By Emily Grieve
Primordial Soup which launched on the 4th of April, is now opening daily and will run for a two week period throughout the 2015 Edinburgh International Science Festival with work developing throughout this time. For this project ASCUS has partnered with The Number Shop to match up scientists and studio artists to collaborate and produce work that provides insights into a wide range of current scientific research. Communicating and interpreting this research is a key aspect of the artists work with some works endeavouring to act as an extension of the science itself.
For the individual projects ASCUS has paired artists with particular areas of science that the artists have expressed interest in, developing these personal collaborative projects, from a combination of conversations, time spent together and lab visits. Throughout the process the artists kept us up to date with their progress and experimentation. Here Alistair Grant, Director of The Number Shop gives us an insight into how the process went with his paired scientist Natasha Russell. Natasha’s work focusses on bacteria in micro gravity and together they have been looking at space. Alistair has been particularly interested in scale, closed Environments and Sci Fi.
Alistair also tells us of his research into the future experimenting with science fantasy.
“We would like to embrace the futuristic edge that her research holds and look to its future applications. However we believe the real science is amazing enough and so it will be much more Science Fiction than Science Fantasy.”- Alistair Grant
The diversity of The Number Shop studio artists along with the range of fields of science has provided a platform for the production of a wide range of work. Ceramic artist Mollie McEwan has been working with archaeologist Lisa-Marie Shillito and has been experimenting with neolithic firing techniques. Fiona Beveridge has been working with Dr John Menzies and Phd student Catherine Hume exploring their scientific research into Neural Control Systems at the Centre for Integrative Physiology, University of Edinburgh.
“I share an interest in both human and animal taste senses, by researching these areas and gathering information on their visual appearance triggered imagery of rounded, floating, living objects forming together in a blob of liquid like an amniotic sac, each having individual responses to sweetness” – Fiona Beveridge
Fiona experimented with objects collected from the Huge Robson Building, University Edinburgh, including this florescent tube rack stuffed with cosmetic puffs.
The exhibition provides a varied showcase of contemporary art, from photography, print, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, costume design, installation and audio visual works that will evolve and grow throughout the festival. The exhibition will be punctuated by open evenings each Saturday from 6pm-8pm. Be sure to pop along yourself if you want to see how these initial ideas and experiments echo through in the artist’s final work. Next open evening this Saturday 18th 6pm-8pm. Check back here for more updates.
About the Project
In April 2015, for the Edinburgh International Science Festival, The Number Shop (TNS) studio member artists will develop new work in response to dialogues with invited scientists in partnership with ASCUS Art & Science. The project aims to ask questions and to promote debate and constructive reactions through vibrant and experimental art.
Some works will be made in advance of the festival in response to the conversations between Artists and Scientists. New artworks will be made daily in the Project Space during the festival and will serve as quick responses to the science. These types of works will be made in parallel alongside a public opinions board that intend to pose questions to audiences. The opinions shared can act as a catalyst and feed directly into the work created.
Throughout the festival TNS will be holding Open Studios so the public can come inside to view and experience works in progress. This will allow both the process of art creation and the science behind the art to be accessible and approachable. Evening openings will feature selected works, talks, film screenings and Q and A sessions.
CLICK HERE for details on how to apply
Open 12-5 daily 4th – 19th April (for all ages).
Evening openings on 4th, 11th, and 18th April.
TNS Studio Artists
In my artistic practice I primarily investigate the relationship between viewers, spaces and various environments. I question how natural environment combined with historical and urban space informs the way we look and categorize what we see. I am interested in exploring the devices which a city uses to juxtapose the natural, geological structure with the contemporary environment.
My practice mainly explores human-object interaction, working with material that is primarily used to develop perceptions through the senses to create visually stimulated experiences vitalized by colour. I’m curious about the evolution of synesthesia and how our different senses can blend together. I use sculptural and painting methods as well as film and sound to make the familiar become unfamiliar, challenging the roles of objects. I use mostly self-coloured materials and display them in ways that are disconnected from their original purpose. Through assemblage these materials become three dimensional drawings and installations.
A lot of my work has sprouted from an aversion to this statement: ‘Instinctive humour does not exist.’ I think it does. Evidence for my belief would be: objects wiggling and the way in which orange is funnier than grey. Eggs (specifically fried eggs) are inexplicably amusing too. As apposed to Freud’s ‘Relief’ theory of humour I believe amusement can be found in colour combination, irregular shapes, challenged symmetry or even the banal and utterly bland.
I am an artist / designer / storyteller / amateur drag shaman who exists in a realm somewhere between reality and fantasy. I enjoy shapeshifting, talking to spirits and other more normal human activities.
As an artist I like to work in whichever medium I feel is most appropriate to pursuing each successive project or idea. This ethos has led to me working across a variety of artistic disciplines. Through my art practice I primarily ask questions about the natural environment and wilderness. Most recently my own personal place within it, its social context and elusive qualities, as well as the narrative I find myself continually projecting onto it. I am currently interested in building interactive and inhabitable digital environments.
My work methodically pairs sculpture, printmaking and craft techniques related to the action of drawing. I investigate movement of line and search for the right shape and mark. I use diverse techniques employing themes of rhythm and repetition, order and disorder. Through this I create an experience of physical and mental processes the aim being to intise the viewer to examine the resulting delicate image.
Through my work I seek to satisfy an innate need to create while exploring notions of the self – both individual and societal. My interest lies in the constructs of reality and the ways in which individuals relate with one and other. I enjoy mythology and the ways humans throughout history have attempted to explain what they couldn’t understand. Much of my work is based around perception and I am interested in the idea of accepted reality and how one person’s perception of reality could be completely different from another.
I’m fascinated by the complex and imbalanced ways that human’s see, reflect on and use the rest of the natural world. Experimenting with printmaking I develop my drawings into unfolding repetitions, playing with the subjectivity of mark making and working site specifically to reflect the research and ideas that I gather. I weave together a limitless variety of visual imagery collected anywhere from ancient folklores to new scientific discoveries. In doing so I map the multiple layers of knowledge that interlink to form our understanding of natural landscape, form or phenomena.
I am fascinated by the penumbra* that exists between the physical and metaphysical, as such my work is rooted as much in theory as it is in materiality. My research as an undergraduate covered a number of topics including the misrepresentation of mental illness in the media, our society’s dependency on escapism and an in depth study of the concept of Utopia. These topics reflect my interests in psychology, sociology and theology, however I am also interested in the structure, science and mathematics, which are found at the core of both nature and society.
*The partially shaded outer region of the shadow cast by an opaque object.
As musician and graphic designer respectively, jointly we are interested in exploring three hypothesised scenarios concerning the end of the universe. Namely, the Big Rip, the Big Crunch, and the Big Freeze. We would like to explore these ideas employing a mixture visual and musical responses; using acoustic and electronic production methods. We are also interested in the methodology of scientific research and how this might echo the creative process.