Dublin City Arts Office
The LAB, Foley Street, Dublin 1

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Past Exhibition

Welcome Disturbances

January 30 - April 11 2015

The LAB Gallery, in partnership with UCD Art in Science, is delighted to present Welcome Disturbances, an exhibition and programme of related events.

This exhibition, curated by Sheena Barrett and Emer O’Boyle, exhibits the diverse practices of UCD Science Artists in Residence Mark Cullen, Emma Finucane, Cindy Cummings, Fred Cummins, Sofie Loscher, Siobhán McDonald, Méadhbh O'Connor and David Stalling. 

Since their pilot residency in 2012, the artists in residence have engaged with scientists in neuroscience, cognitive science, marine biology, plant biology, geophysics, paleobotany, advanced optical imaging, spectroscopy and astronomy. These conversations have led to an inspiring body of work, through a mutual openness to communicating across the traditional boundaries of the disciplines.

The diversity of the work reflects the open and dynamic nature of the project and includes sculpture, installation, painting, drawing, video and performances.

The event was accompanied by a programme of public events including live performance, panel discussions and visiting international speakers, with participants from other sectors in education, government, culture, industry and environment. These events were designed to create debate and allow participants to find out more and share their perspectives in relation to subject matter of shared concern that arose in the wide reaching conversations between the artists and scientists.

Programme of Events

12th February

Commissioning and Curating at the Intersection of Art and Science

The discourse of curatorial practice is most often centred around the artist’s project, given that the role of the curator varies from one project to another.

Working with contemporary artists entails commissioning new works of art, often for new contexts, and new audiences. This curatorial role involves tasks associated with not only the presentation, but the production, documentation and preservation of the work of art. This lecture will focus mainly on two projects, LifeSpace at the University of Dundee, and the Transitio Festival in Mexico City, involving artists who draw upon research in the field of life sciences, and explore our increasingly digitally mediated experience of life itself.

Dr. Sarah Cook is a curator of contemporary art, writer, and sometime new media art historian.

For over 15 years, Sarah has guest-curated exhibitions, in Canada, the USA, Mexico, New Zealand, Europe, and online, which have been reviewed in Art Monthly, Artforum, Rhizome and we-make-money-not-art. She is the author (with Beryl Graham) of Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media (MIT Press, 2010) and co-founder of crumbweb.org, the international online resource for curators of media art. She is currently a fellow at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design at the University of Dundee, where, among other interdisciplinary research initiatives, she is engaged in curating artists’ projects for LifeSpace Science Art Research Gallery.

18th February

Shifting Ground, Changing Roles – Collaborations and Perspectives

In 2011, The LAB Gallery presented Quantified Self, an exhibition of new work by artists Bea McMahon, Saoirse Higgins, Cliona Harmey and Michelle Browne in collaboration with Shimmer Research. The advances in technology since then would mean that collaboration today could look very different. In practical terms, the engineers might not even been needed but if that were so, many of the rich conversations that happened alongside but ultimately fed into the artist’s thought processes, would have been lost

At the same time, however, this democratisation of technology opens up the potential to disrupt both how it is used and developed into the future. In this session, we’ll have short presentations on approaches

and perspectives from experienced collaborators Cindy Cummings, dancer and choreographer and Professor Padraig Dunne, Head of UCD School of Physics, along with Bea McMahon, visual artist and Kieran Daly, COO and co-founder of Health Beacon (formerly of Shimmer); followed by a panel discussion chaired by Rachel O’Dwyer, Trinity College.

4th March

The ground from which we speak

The ground from which we speak is the unseen, unacknowledged background, without which nothing we say could make sense to us. As we speak, we reveal our own embedding in webs of belief. This is as true of scientists as it is of clerics or farmers. In this unusual debate, two scholars from very different fields will interact, in unscripted but moderated fashion, to ask about how we negotiate reality, how we access truth, and how we manage the conflicting claims of the political, religious, scientific, legal, and common everyday reality. The vastly different fields of the two speakers converge in consideration of very concrete aspects to the creation of a common world: the sensory basis for the reality we meet, and the form of the words we utter together.

Professor Alexandra Grieser is Assistant Professor for the Theory of Religion in Trinity College Dublin. In her work, she explores the interconnectedness of knowledge from domains of religion, science, politics, and beyond, with a singular interest in the aesthetics of knowledge.

Dr. Fred Cummins is Senior Lecturer and cognitive scientist in University College Dublin. His work on joint speech, as found in prayer and protest, provides an empirical route to studying the ground of belief, and it confronts us with the challenge of reconciling individual and collective intentions.

11th March

Pathways Towards Sustainability - A Collective Conversation

As an extension of the collaboration between artist Meadhbh O'Connor and Dr Tamara Hochstasser, we are delighted to present

Pathways Towards Sustainability - A Collective Conversation.

A panel discussion mapping the ways in which individuals working in different fields are driving and implementing change towards a more environmentally sustainable future.

Rapid developments in earth system sciences over the 20th and 21st centuries have advanced our knowledge of the complex and interconnected nature of earth’s living and non-living systems. This has led to a better understanding of our inextricable link to and dependence on highly complex biosystems, and of the impact of human activity on these. The collective goal-setting of sustainability is our expression of concern that humans ultimately will suffer the consequences of our impact on our fellow species and on the environment upon which they depend.

The issue of sustainability spans science, politics, policy development, society, culture, industry and many other areas of human interest. In light of this, for this event representatives from science, environmental policy development, arts curation, arts practice and ENGOS come together to share their perspectives and experiences on how they are attending, in their own unique ways, to this central topic. The intention is to capture a picture of the work being carried out by these different agents independently of each other in order to achieve similar goals – preserving a functioning biosphere for the enjoyment of future generations.

UCD Art in Science is a hub through which connections and partnerships amongst individuals working in different disciplines can be initiated.

This event aims to adhere to that principle in the hope of generating cross-disciplinary discussion and the possibility of future continued interaction amongst all in attendance. The event will follow a format of brief presentations by each panelist, followed by a lively and chaired discussion with audience participation. Conall O’Connor, Assistant principal for the Marine Strategy Directive, Dept. of Environment, visual artists Cathy Fitzgerald and Méadhbh OConnor, Dr. Tamara Hochstrasser, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and Annabel Fitzgerald, An Taisce.

18th March

Pathways to New Perspectives

The work of both artists and scientists is enriched by encounters with approaches and ideas that are different from their own. This session will present a series of six very different approaches and ideas by artists and scientists engaged in the UCD Science artist in residence programme. Moderated by Lorraine Hanlon, Professor of Astrophysics and co-founder of UCD Art in Science, the intention of this event is to stimulate new connections, ideas and inspirational partnerships.

Panel: Professor Chris Bean, currently co-director of the UCD BSc in Climate and Earth Systems Science. Dr. Maria Healey, from UCD School of Midwifery, is currently collaborating with Emma Finucane and a team of midwives to promote normal birth. Dr. Fred Cummins, Senior Lecturer and cognitive scientist, UCD School of Computer Science & Informatics. Visual artists Vanessa Daws, Maria McKinney and Fiona Marron, selected for the UCD Science Artist In Residence programme 2015.

25th March

Art & Ecology - Artist Residency Experiences

Alongside the exhibition presenting work developed as part of the artists in residence programme at UCD, this session will present a range of experiences of artists working in different contexts relating to ecology and the environment.

Artist Gareth Kennedy presents and discusses the genesis and development of his project Post Colony over a 3 to 4-year period which culminated in production in May and June of 2014 during the rhododendron bloom in Killarney National Park. Ruth le Gear will present her experience of the Arctic Circle. Linda Shevlin’s residency as part of Spark Residency at the Organic Centre resulted in Supernature, presented at The LAB Gallery last year. Oisín McGann is writer in residence for Weather Stations Dublin, produced by Tallaght Community Arts and Collective Action, with the support of the Culture programme of the European Union.

More info on the project can be found at www.globalweatherstations.com

The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Emma Lucy O’Brien, curator at VISUAL Carlow.

25th March

Live Performances

Improvised performance with sound and movement by Cindy Cummings and David Stalling Film with performance by dance artist Emma O’Kane.

Continuum, a short film by Siobhan McDonald, documents a set of ancient Irish coral fossils and their journey through smoke as patterns in motion across time.

9th April

Re-enacting Atmospheres

Public talk and tour of the PÉAC laboratories at UCD Rosemount. Professor Jenny McElwain simulates climate conditions going back 500 million years or going forward to what we predict into the 21st century.

The Programme for Experimental Atmospheres and Climate facility (PÉAC) offers researchers the opportunity to see how subtle changes in the atmosphere can affect living organisms. The large chambers allow tight control over important factors such as light, temperature, humidity and the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide gases. A tour of these fascinating laboratories will follow the talk.

Professor McElwain is a research leader in Earth system science and plant evolution. Over the past 20 years, her research and teaching have focused on the development and use of palaeobiological proxies to understand the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere and climate on multimillion year timescales and how fluctuations in both have influenced large-scale patterns in plant evolution and ecology throughout Earth history.

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