Ever wondered what a black hole sounds like? Or what astronomically small molecules look like up close? In 2015-16, Heriot-Watt's scientists worked with two artists-in-residence to create installations that convey the size, sound and scale of our scientific research.
Lily Hibberd worked with Heriot-Watt's Extreme Light Group. Her ‘Black Hole Horizon' is an immersive sound installation based on Professor Daniele Faccio's research data. Hibberd also created a kinetic sculpture, which represents how Daniele's group control and manipulate light – only it is slowed down by a factor of 200 metres per second.
Hannah Imlach created a sculpture collection, ‘From the Dark Ocean Comes Light', spending a year-long residency in the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering at Heriot-Watt University, and the Changing Oceans Group at the University of Edinburgh. Hannah's functional sculptures provide a glimpse into underwater and microscopic worlds, inspired by the process of fluorescent microscopy and its connection to the marine world.
We showcased our residents' works as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, specifically in a non-scientific venue. This focussed on engaging a diverse audiences as part of a wider university scheme to involve ‘low science capital' audiences with STEM. Artists and scientists came together at a launch event to share their experiences of the residencies, using their new perspectives on complex science. Our exhibition attracted over 4,000 visitors, and the works were showcased further on the Heriot-Watt campus in a series of celebratory events.
This inspirational year was unexpectedly enlightening for all involved and the new ways we found to reflect on our works form a lasting legacy for scientist and artist alike.
The videos below explore the impact of the residencies on the artists and scientists involved.