This May, The Substation launches a brand new platform, the Art and Science Open Call. Aimed at creatives and artists who are interested in collaborating with a science professional, Art and Science Open Call is inviting proposals that explore the intersections of art and science. Lending their expertise to the programme are three consultants; Robert Zhao (artist/founder of Institute of Critical Zoologists), Andreas Schlegel (artist/lecturer in Media Arts in LASALLE College of the Arts) and Chris Lee (Creative Director and Founder of Asylum). Robert shares about how science factors into his own art practice.
Chelsea Chua: Your work often has themes of ecology, technology, and biology. How did your interest in these areas develop?
Robert Zhao: I am interested in nature, first and foremost. Much of what we understand about animals come from science so this is one way I try to engage with nature in my art, through an established system that has been used to generate knowledge. I see the different fields of science as different starting points for my projects. My good friend is also a scientist. My day-to-day conversations with him informs much of my practice. He is also very passionate and critical of his own position as a scientist. This is something that I find very important, that he can laugh at himself and be critical at the same time.
CC: In your opinion, how does intersecting art and science affect each other?
RZ: Science has definitely helped me in more ways then one. As an artist who uses mainly photography, science has helped pushed photography to become a more responsive medium, there is more control on photography then ever before. But this is only the technical aspect of this relationship. I can only say that science has helped me to look at things from different perspectives. Art and science have always enjoyed a good relationship with each other, I think its interesting to see how both approaches can be used to present an idea together conceptually beyond the technical capabilities of their specific approaches.
CC: What do you hope to see from this Open Call?
RZ: I’m looking forward to seeing both artist and scientist explore each other’s approaches to their work. It’ll be useful if one can go beyond an aesthetic representation of scientific ideas but also perhaps use art to create new perspectives and new ideas to think about what science is also investigating.
By Chelsea Chua
Submissions to The Substation’s Art and Science Open Call are accepted until Friday 30 May 2014. For more information on how to submit your proposal, visit www.substation.org/opencall for full details.