Workshop: ‘Relational Process Drawing’

2021       ‘Relational Process Drawing’, ZKM Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany

Living systems are always dynamic at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Their persistence, far from being merely the continued possession of essential properties, is the result of the finely articulated interplay of multiple processes. Representing the dynamic nature of biological processes is a challenge. »Relational process drawing« (Gemma Anderson, 2020) focuses on the dynamic patterns of life and draws together relationships between energy, time, movement and environment. In this workshop, presented by an artist, a philosopher of biology and a cell biologist, we explore ways to represent the entire process of cell division in one connected image through a series of group exploratory drawing exercises.

More info here

Workshop – ‘Critical Zones. Observatories for Earthly Politics’, ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

May 9–October 4, 2020

Curated by: Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel with Martin Guinard and Bettina Korintenberg

By now everybody knows that there is an existential threat to our collective conditions of existence, but very few people have any idea of how to cope with this new Critical situation. It is very strange, but citizens of many developed countries are disoriented; it is as if they were asked to land on a new territory, an Earth that they have long ignored having reacted to their action. The hypothesis we want to propose is that the best way to map this new Earth is to see it as a network of Critical Zones, which constitute a thin skin a few kilometers thick that has been generated over eons of time by life forms. Those life forms had completely transformed the original geology of the Earth, before humanity transformed it yet again over the last centuries.

Over the years, scientists have installed multiple Observatories to study these Critical Zones and have made us aware of the complex composition and extreme fragility of this thin layer inside which all life forms, humans included, have to cohabit. They have renewed Earth science in a thousand ways and very much in a way that Alexander von Humboldt would have approved. Increasingly, scientists, artists, activists, politicians, and citizens are realizing that society is not centered solely on humanity, but it has to become Earthly again if it wishes to land without crashing. The modern project has been in flight, unconcerned by planetary limits. Suddenly, there is a general movement toward the soil and new attention to the ways people might inhabit it. Politics is no longer about humans making decisions on their own and for themselves only, but has become an immensely more complex undertaking. New forms of citizenship and new types of attention and care for life forms are required to generate a common ground.

The ZKM thus continues the comprehensive engagement and collaboration with local communities and institutions that was explored during the Open Codes exhibition (2017–2019), opening up a space for common action and discussion to recompose the world we live in: Over a period of five months ZKM will host an exhibition conceived as a scale model to simulate the spatial novelty of this new land as well as the diversity of relations between the life forms inhabiting it. It will serve as an Observatory of Critical Zones allowing visitors to familiarize themselves with the new situation. This special combination of thought experiment and exhibition was developed by Peter Weibel and Bruno Latour in their previous collaborations at ZKM. Iconoclash in 2002, Making Things Public in 2005, and Reset Modernity! in 2016 constitute the three former “thought exhibitions” (Gedankenausstellungen) that resulted from their intensive working relationship which now spans 20 years.

The ZKM website will soon publish the intense program accompanying the exhibition.

More info here

 

Summer Academy – “Science and Art – Art and Research Today.” Switzerland, August 22-29, 2020

Organised by Hans-Jörg Rheinberger and Staffan Müller-Wille

The theme of the Summer Academy for the Schweizerische Studienstiftung in Magliaso/Ticino from August 22-29, 2020 is “Science and Art – Art and Research Today.” The Studienstiftung supports talented students in all disciplines with bursaries, and the Academy is meant to bring bursary holders together for discussion and socializing at Lake Lugano.

The Summer Academy aims at giving an insight into the actual discursive landscape around the relation between the sciences and the arts. Besides art historians and historians of science, artists and art & science mediators will present their views and projects. The academy will also include a look back onto the development of the relation between the sciences and the arts from the Early Modern period to the first half of the twentieth century (see attachment in German).

I will contribute to the Summer School as an artistic researcher and art mediator giving a lecture on my approach to connecting the sciences and the arts and engaging the participants in practical exercises.

 

‘Drawing life’

Free Drawing Workshop

Friday, September 13 • 18:00 – 19:30

With pen, pencil and paper, how can we represent the dynamic and constantly moving nature of life?

Led by award-winning artist and research fellow from the University of Exeter, Gemma Anderson, take part in this ‘life’ drawing workshop which offers a novel, creative and collaborative approach to depicting evolution on the page.

When the drawing is constantly evolving, who knows what kind of life will find a way…?

More info here

Representing Protein Dynamics: An interdisciplinary approach

Conference Presentation

The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) Conference 2019: July 7-12, University of Oslo, Norway

Participants

Gemma Anderson, University of Exeter, UK

John Dupre, University of Exeter, UK

Jonathan J. Phillips, University of Exeter, UK

This interdisciplinary conference presentation addresses protein dynamics, beginning with a treatment of the energy landscape associated with protein folding. Here, Anderson is collaborating with protein biophysicist Jonathan Phillips. The conventional image for representing protein dynamics in biology is the “folding funnel”, an irregular, roughly conical shape that corresponds to an energy landscape down which the nascent protein is imagined to transition as its structure achieves lower energy formations. While this image represents some features well, others are obscured. In particular, important aspects of the intrinsic behaviour of molecular species are absent, or poorly represented, such as stochastic change and parallel pathways. Thus, a gap exists in our ability to represent and interact with fundamental dynamic processes in a visual manner that is intuitive and instructive. The proposed presentation at ISHPSSB, Oslo will describe the methods of interdisciplinary collaboration and the objectives of the project, and then present the images developed for protein folding and some discussion of their significance. As with the mitosis project, a number of novel modes of representation are being explored. We will present a series of new images that function as visual metaphors for the protein energy landscape. These draw on the structure of a maze, and we also experiment with the maze as a metaphor for processes beyond proteins, such as mitosis and speciation. Anderson, Phillips and Dupré will jointly present this work, providing philosophical, art-theoretic, and scientific, perspectives on the project and its results.

 

Lecture and Workshop at Falmouth School of Art

04/04/19

Lecture about the relationship between process philosophy of biology and artistic processes, based on current AHRC project ‘Representing Biology as Process’

and

Drawing Workshop – ‘Isomorphogenesis, drawing algorithms and symbiosis’: a full day collaborative drawing workshop with FSA BA Drawing students

 

‘Molecules of life: Exploring Proteins through drawing, movement and origami’ – Art/Science/Philosophy Workshop at the Eden Project, Cornwall

28th May 2018

Artist Gemma Anderson, Philosopher John Dupré and Scientist Johnathan Phillips from the University of Exeter, bring an experimental and multi-modal art/science/philosophy workshop ‘Molecules of Life: Exploring Proteins through drawing, movement and origami’ as part of  the Eden Project’s Invisible Worlds Launch Week. Please note that you must pre-book a place for the workshop on the afternoon of Monday 28 May. This workshop is part of a packed timetable of science-themed talks and workshop in the Eden Projects brand-new ‘Lab’.

Details of how to book will be added to this page soon.

Gemma Anderson delivers ‘Biology and Art: Investigations through Drawing’ course at Grinnell Liberal Arts College, Iowa, US

‘Biology and Art: Investigations through Drawing’ course at Grinnell Liberal Arts College, Iowa, US

02/04/18-20/04/18

From anatomical studies to the biomorphism of surrealism and the abstractions of Klee and Kandinsky, the biological realm historically provided a significant resource for numerous artists while many scientists like Haeckel and Hooke produced works of artistic merit. This course focuses on the twin themes of morphology and drawing through an exploration of intuitive and experimental drawing methods. The aim is to develop and share new ways in which drawing practice can enhance morphological insight, specifically within the contexts of art and the natural sciences. Central to this is Goethe’s concept of morphology, which he defined in 1792 as ‘the study of form and formative process’ (Goethe and Naydler 1996) combined with a narrative of the development of ‘drawing as a way of knowing’ in my own artistic practice.
The path of the course arcs from observation to abstraction as a range of morphological drawing methods will be tested through a series of practice-based workshops using drawing as a method to investigate in diverse contexts; from fieldwork and microscopy to classification and simulation. We explore the relationship between art and biology through artists, scientists and thinkers such as Goethe, Klee, Waddington, Thistlewood and Mundy. As part of a wider cultural movement in Art/Science and STEAM, this course will highlight historical and contemporary of practices towards the development of independent investigations in Biology and Art.

Student Reflection:
‘I have left this class with a reinvigorated perspective on Biology and Nature in general. I find myself more attentive to forms and similarities among plants, especially.I also plan to exercise a lot more care and precision with my drawings. Our discussions on bias and our practical exercises on drawing from observation, made me realize just how extremely DIFFICULT it is to accurately capture an organism on paper, and how much skill it takes to be keen at observational drawing, being able to distinguish and incorporate details, patterns, textures, and lines in an unbiased and informative way’.