When Art And Science Collide

February 21 2018 | By Tom Jeffreys for Frieze
Experiments in the Field: Why are Artists and Scientists Collaborating?

(Above: Maria McKinney, Sire, 2016, included in ‘Somewhere in Between’ Wellcome Collection, 8 March – 27 August 2018. Courtesy: © the artist)

‘Are we working for the corals,’ asks artist Sonia Levy,’ or with them?’ Levy – whose previous projects have included collaborating with a whale researcher in Iceland and recreating 20th century crystallization experiments – is currently working in the basement of the Horniman Museum in south London, where, for the very first time, marine biologists have successfully induced corals to spawn within a captive environment.

That alone makes ‘Project Coral’ noteworthy. Launched under the umbrella of the Horniman’s so-called ‘Living Collections’, the research involves a range of international partners and has seen nine corals transplanted from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to an aquarium laboratory deep in the bowels of the museum. By their very existence, corals complicate convenient categorizations – between animal, plant and mineral or between individual and community or even between the living and dead. Corals, notes Levy, collaborate (with algae). Their exoskeletons form landscapes that shelter other forms of life. Corals provide rich metaphors but they are also real beings – out there in the world, and now inside the museum laboratory.

Read more about it on Frieze

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