Gentle chimes ring out as a gallery viewer carefully turns the handle of a wooden, beautifully-crafted music box, a collaborative piece by Laara Cerman and Scott Pownall. The duet that plays is based on the DNA sequences of two invasive plant species – Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens) and Brown Knapweed (Centaurea jacea). Across the room, a robot dutifully paints abstract works in beautiful teal and salmon colours, programmed by the mechanical-engineer-and-painter Joanne Hastie. Elsewhere in the gallery, viewers can contemplate explorations of the invasiveness of technology, chaos, colonialism, plastics, bacteria, plants, and radio signals.
— Katie Compton (@KatComScience) November 10, 2019
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What an wonderful weekend! We did it! I’m so happy with how the #collisionsfestival #invasivesystems went off! I’m exhausted but overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you @vivomediaarts, our dedicated @curiositycollider team and the amazing artists and scientists in the show! You made it a success we couldn’t have pulled it off without you 😍🤗🤩 @edziumusic @dzeelouise @furiebeckite @joannehastie @katwadel @twyla.exner @Laara cerman Chris Dunnett and Christian Dahlberg- scientists Garth Covernton, Scott Pownall and Linda Horianopoulos #sciart #artvancouver
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Last night was a blast!! Thank you all for joining us to explore #collisionsfestival #invasivesystems – we are open @vivomediaarts today 12-5pm. Curator's tours at 3:15 and guided discussion at 4. A few artists (including @joannehastie who will be on site with robotic arm this whole weekend!) Hope to see you there! . #scienceart #artsci #vancouverevents #VancouverArt #BCArt #opusartsupplies #creativity
This was the scene at Curiosity Collider’s inaugural Sci-Art festival The Collisions Festival: Invasive Systems at the VIVO Media Arts Centre from November 8th to 10th. The three-day festival contained work by six individual artists and three artist and scientist collaborative teams. Artworks were a balance of new and traditional medias and explored the delicate and complicated nature of how living things interact with and influence each other and their environment – from technology and infections to pollution and invasive species.
The opening reception, attended by about 100, featured a performance of “The Moose are Life” by sound artist, songwriter and composer, Edzi’u, which speaks to the effects of the colonial inheritance of Indigenous peoples in Tahltan Territory. One participant commented in our post-event survey, “The performance piece about moose was extraordinary, impactful, and valued. Thank you for sharing that.”
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#curiositycollider hosted at VIVO: 2019 Festival Opening night performance by Edzi’u! Can we recognize and better understand how invasive systems transform or become part of our world? Through visual art, multimedia installations, and interactive experiences, these ideas are explored by artists and scientists at "Collisions Festival: Invasive Systems". Visit @vivomediaarts to explore the delicate and complicated nature of how both living and inanimate things redefine our lives and environments. More info in bio link and @curiositycollider . . . #sciart #visualart #canadianartists #vivo #collisionsfestival
Collaborating artists and scientists were also present at the opening night, and this led to great moments of organic interactions. With their curiosity peaked by the artworks, attendees engaged with the collaborative teams inquisitively about their art and the scientific concepts behind them, including questions about the blood brain barrier and invasive plant species and more. Another participant commented, “So happy I went – and brought my 7-year old daughter who was fascinated, thrilled, and intrigued. Loved the collaborative works with artists and scientists and that they were there to talk about their processes and work on the opening night.”
— Raymond K Nakamura, Ph.D. (@raymondsbrain) November 10, 2019
Amazing experience with @CCollider Thanks @DzeeLouise for creating this beautiful puzzle to highlight the interactions microbes have with the brain! Quite a puzzle for us researchers! #ScienceDay #ArtsandScience #STEAM pic.twitter.com/GbTyDtOP6j
— Linda (@Linder_surprise) November 10, 2019
Collisions Festival 2019 showcased what science-art has to offer: playful learning, joyful connection across boundaries, and engagement with complex aspects of our world.
— Art the Science 🚀🎨 (@artthescience) November 9, 2019
- B.C. artist, scientist crank out tunes from plant DNA (featuring Collisions Festival collaboration by artist Laara Cerman and geneticist Scott Pownall). Global News. 26 Nov 2019.
- When art and science collide – Science Borealis reviews the Collisions Festival: Invasive Systems. Science Borealis blog. 18 Nov 2019.
- FEATURES – COLLISIONS FESTIVAL. Art the Science blog. 19 Nov 2019.
- “Collisions Festival: Invasive Systems” interview (at 9:30). CITR Radio. 8 Nov 2019.
- QUAND L’ART ET LA SCIENCE SE RENCONTRENT. CBC Radio (ICI Radio Canada). 7 Nov 2019.
- Get to Know | Char Hoyt. Emily Carr University of Art + Design News. 7 Nov 2019.
We acknowledge that Collisions Festival and its events take place on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil- Waututh) Nations. We are grateful for the opportunity to live and work on this land.
Curiosity Collider and VIVO Media Arts Centre gratefully acknowledge the support of: