ASCUS + ScotCHEM ⇌ Catalysing Creativity Artists Announced

Announcing an exciting new art-science commission in partnership with ScotCHEM, a collaboration of Scotland’s university chemistry departments. Since 2019, ASCUS Art & Science and ScotCHEM have been working together on a project for artists and designers to gain exclusive access to Scotland wide cutting edge chemistry research.

Commissioned artists and scientists, Romain, Mairi, Honza and Amanda in ASCUS Lab

We hosted a successful networking/knowledge exchange event, Catalysing Creativity with ScotCHEM in June 2019 at V & A Dundee. Artists and chemistry researchers threw themselves into speed dating and creative break out sessions at ScotCHEM’s industry conference. Attendees exchanged research, art practices and inspiration. Two pairs of artists and chemistry researchers who met on the day have each won a £1k commission funded by ScotCHEM to collaboratively produce an artwork. We are very much enjoying working with the art-science pairs over the course of the project.

Dr. Mairi Haddow and Romain Viguier

Dr. Mairi Haddow is a crystallographer, her research focuses on the structure and behavior of crystals, especially how their structure can be disordered. She is looking at methods to identify the disordered nature of the crystal’s atoms. A fascination with disorder and irregularity is a subject which bonds Mairi and artist and scientist, Romain Viguier. For their commission, they are exploring “observed misalignments” and “disorganised zones” within organised matter. They wish to determine whether similar misalignments can be applied to disorganise some aspects of shapes, spaces, sequences and colours distribution. In so doing, Mairi and Romain will produce a series of visual questionings that will highlight key societal questions.

Romain Viguier

Romain, PhD, trained as a sculptor at Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Grenoble, France. He studied chemistry and biochemistry and completed a PhD in Molecular Chemistry. He continues his engagement with art while pursuing a career in science and technology. He works for Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage developing and managing innovation projects. His art focuses on the problem we have with CO2 and on how organised systems operate through transition and mutation.

Dr Mairi Haddow

Dr  Haddow has a degree in chemistry from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D. in structural chemistry from University of Bristol. She has researched polymorphism in pharmaceuticals, she returned to Bristol as manager of the X-ray crystallography service. Mairi holds a Daphne Jackson Fellowship at Heriot-Watt University, where she is developing automated methods to study disordered molecules in porous crystalline materials.

Dr Amanda Jarvis and Honza Turnovsky

Dr Amanda Jarvis works in synthetic chemistry. She leads research into metal enzymes, aiming to activate inactive proteins, in order to create new catalysts for sustainable chemistry. Czech visual artist, Honza Turnovsky became inspired by the role of ‘activation’ and making the inanimate, animate within Amanda’s research. It reminded him of how the clay character Golem is brought to life in the ancient Czech Jewish tale of the same name. The story breathed life into Amanda’s research. Honza and Amanda are exploring the concept of activation/animation of a protein and culturally important sites using photography, 3D printing and ceramics.

Honza Turnovsky

Honza studied fine art photography at Glasgow School of Art and as an exchange student took part in Japanese Arita Porcelain Vessels course at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. His work investigates the boundaries between fine art and craft and establishes the dialog between photography and ceramics.

Dr Amanda Jarvis

Dr Jarvis designs and makes novel catalysts, molecules that speed up reactions, making chemical synthesis more sustainable for tomorrow. Key to her practice is the understanding and rational design of function into a molecule, alongside creativity and embracing the unexpected.

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