Art Gives ANPERC a New Perspective on Science

Mar 27 2019

EGEL Postdoc Qi Liu shows off the results of his hard work. Five points if you can identify the constellation.

Julia Garcia was the first Artist in Residence with the EGEL group. The two week project promoted a rich exchange of perspectives that Garcia hopes will "help people take a fresh look" at their work.

Julia Garcia (center) conducts the second of two workshops.

"The field of art is super broad. You get inspiration from different places, and translate it into an experience or an interaction. These thematics have close ties to science in an abstract way. In interviews with the whole EGEL team, I asked them to draw what they think represents their work, and a shared lexicon of symbols emerged. Semiotics, (what marks are meaningful and how), is fascinating and beautiful to me. Abstract lines construct a meaning, with subtle boundaries between the meaningful and the meaningless. For example, some group members study the porosity of materials to understand the motion of fluids through soils and rocks, really paying attention to negative space."

Mengwei Liu (center) on drawing with tape: "Giving yourself a little bit of time to think about life in another way provides a different view of your current research."

During two workshops, group members and ANPERC spouses explored drawing and printing techniques, and even made images from tape. Garcia got the idea for using tape when searching through the center's storage room. "In art we are always questioning the use of things, usurping its everyday use. If I put a pencil in someone's hand they think 'I know what this is.' I want them to be a little uncomfortable, but at the same time curious and not intimidated."

Garcia has done artist residencies before, most notably in Japan in 2018. This collaboration took place in a village struggling after the Tohoku Earthquake of 2011, and focused on community and children. Her work can be found at her website.