The current disturbed

Breaker, Jeanine. 2013 The current disturbed. Geoscientist, 23 (3). 16-19.

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Leonardo da Vinci said: “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.” His statement is still relevant almost 600 years later, and in many ways, has led to pressing global concerns over energy, food and water supply, pollution and climate change. Dr Nicholas Riley, BGS Head of Grantsmanship and Science Policy (Europe) states: “Industrialisation and urbanisation have increasingly led to a disconnection between society and the constraints that the Earth places upon it. Public respect for landscape and responsibility to live in harmony with it relies upon our collective visual literacy – our ability to recognize how the landscape came into being, its evolution and how our actions may increase or diminish our vulnerability to its natural behaviour.” The UK’s research culture is one of the most progressive in the world, and UK funding organisations are creating opportunities for artists to work with leading science research organisations like BGS to address such pressing concerns. My year with BGS was one of the most productive and pleasurable of my professional career, however artscience research collaboration poses conceptual challenges – to both sides. Finding an effective balance, which avoids confusing novices on one hand and patronising the informed on the other, can prove elusive when two disciplines’ methods and approaches are as foreign to one another as are geology and contemporary art. One scientist, for example, asked if I would be drawing portraits of old men in beards, while a college art professor asked me if geology was even considered ‘real science’. Caught between these two extremes, an art-science research fellow – though the scientists refer to me as their ‘artist-in-residence’ – can sometimes feel like an exotic pet.

Item Type: Publication - Article
ISSN: 0961-5628
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This article can also be downloaded for free from URL above
Date made live: 23 Jul 2013 12:37 +0 (UTC)

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