SCEMFA is a research group at the Slade School of Fine Art. SCEMFA opened in 1995 and for the past 15 years has provided the opportunity for leading artists to focus on research into Electronic Media and Fine Art, contributing to debate on a national and international level for events, exhibitions, broadcasts, collaborations and online.
For centuries, scientists have sought help from artistic practice as a visual aid. This lecture will explore case studies from the 18th to the 21st century, to show that artists have often participated in the growth of scientific knowledge by disturbing and questioning concepts that scientists take for granted. Would current artist in residence programmes benefit from adopting a more sustained critical role, in light of this history?
Data Soliloquies is a book about the extraordinary cultural fluidity of scientific data. A wide array of graphs, charts, computer models and other forms of visual advocacy have become inescapable fixtures of public science presentations, though they are often treated as if they were neutral ‘found objects’ rather than elaborate narrative constructions containing high levels of statistical uncertainty. Through a mix of essays and artworks, this witty and engaging book — the result of a collaboration between Richard Hamblyn and Martin John Callanan during their terms as writer and artist in residence at the UCL Environment Institute — examines the theatricality of scientific data display, while critiquing some of the poorly designed statistical wallpaper that surrounds so much public science debate.