A collaboration of art and science
ASCUS Art and Science Collaboration brings the two fields together to produce art work inspired by scientific research. May 21
Danni Gadd is a Wellcome Trust PhD student in Translational Neuroscience working at the interface between genetics and neurological disease risk with Dr Riccardo Marioni's research group in the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine. Her research integrates multi-omics data from the blood to understand why neurological disease occurs and how we can better predict or prevent it in future. After seeing an advertisement on Twitter, Danni recently took part in the annual ASCUS Art and Science collaboration, in which five scientists are paired with five artists to create artwork inspired by the research of the scientist.
Danni was paired with London-based artist Kym Coratin, a B.A. Hons. Painting Degree student with the Open College of the Arts, and through a series of virtual workshops they delved into the themes behind Danni’s research. One of the images Danni showed Kym was the structure of DNA. They discussed the importance of genetic, epigenetic and proteomic data and how each of these biological layers can uncover something about the health of an individual.
Danni created a connected genome sculpture, which was based around the genome-connectivity circos plots that she creates in her scientific work.
I titled this piece ‘Connected, genomes’, as it represents the relationships between our genetics, our environment and our health. The complexity and depth of connectivity that we can measure statistically from the genome is something that excites me on a daily basis when I work with this data. The unity and balance that is happening inside every cell in our bodies to keep us healthy is so important to understand. I think this piece reminds us to reconnect with how unified and beautiful our own biology is.
Kym’s minimalist experimental approach including sculpture and installation continues to investigate material and creative flow. Increasingly fascinated by the connections between Art and Science she recently initiated the Art Scientific Collaborative to encourage resource-sharing and creative projects combining these two disciplines. For this collaboration she made a DNA-inspired sculpture, which was centred around a prose poetry piece focusing on the base letters of A, C, G and T, to capture the interplay between human experience and genetic influence.
Pushing boundaries, experimenting has always been key to my art-making so it comes as no surprise to find myself exploring the wonderful world of Science - but I never expected it to be such an amazingly rich source of creative inspiration.
The whole experience has been fantastic. Kym has brought fresh insight into the human and artistic side of the research that I do.