Friday, November 12, 2010

Unruly ecologies: Biodiversity and art

Taking place in Perth, November 26 to 28 - A Symposium on Biodiverisity and Art.

NB: just noticed 25.1.2013... the images are no longer available here. 

unruly ecologies: biodiversity and art

Last week I was contacted by Perdita Phillips from the University of Western Australia's research centre:

SymbioticA - Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts

SymbioticA is an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning, critique and hands-on engagement with the life sciences. 

Under the direction of Oron Catts, SymbioticA’s emphasis is on experiential practice. SymbioticA facilitates a thriving program of residenciesresearchacademic courses,exhibitionssymposiumsseminars and workshops. Researchers and students from all disciplines work on individual projects or in interdisciplinary teams to explore the shifting relations and perceptions of life.

As a research centre within the School of Anatomy and Human Biology at The University of Western Australia, SymbioticA enables direct and visceral engagement with scientific techniques. Crossing the disciplines of art and the life sciences, SymbioticA encourages better understanding and articulation of cultural ideas around scientific knowledge and informed critique of the ethical and cultural issues of life manipulation.  
SymbioticA is a recipient of the inaugural Golden Nica in Hybrid Arts at Prix Ars Electronica.

Perdita Phillips wrote that she was
         "putting together an online survey of art relating to biodiversity in preparation for a symposium Unruly ecologies: biodiversity and art that will be happening 26-28  November this year in Perth (see for details).  I would like to include your work in our online survey of artworks (here Your seed works are great examples of the blending of art and science."

I have been reading about Western Australia quite a bit this year, given the region south of Perth is one of the Biodiversity hotspots in the world. I have referred often to a book called 'Australian Seeds' which is focused on species from Western Australia. 

For anyone interested in  visiting the Biodiversity Art online showcase click here. There are 31 entries on broad ranging themes and approaches on this site to date. Im very sorry to not be free to attend the symposium at the end of November but will look forward to reading more on the speakers and topics through this website.

Artwork and text provided for inclusion on the showcase:

Homage to the Seed is the title of a year-long project conducted at Brisbane Botanic Gardens as 2010 Artist-in-Residence. This project was born of a collaboration with the on-site ‘Seeds for Life’ Seed Lab (set up by Kew Garden’s Millennium Seed Bank Project) with the underlying objective of spurring on public awareness  of the critical role of seeds and the human impact on global plant heritage. The seed lab was central to the project – a site of research, crucial dialogue with staff and volunteers, journal and weblog documentation.
Sophie Munns: Homage to the Seed project

To bring this somewhat obscure work to the public’s eye a strong accent on relational aesthetics practice was facilitated through a series of events which supported the key undertaking ‘to champion the seed’ to audiences unfamiliar with the extraordinary diversity and particular vulnerabilities of the world’s seed heritage . In electing to pursue this multi-layered approach to the ‘dispersal’ of information the material provided covered all bases… from simple to complex …encouraging both casual and formal engagement.  The weblog further boosted public engagement by traversing a broad spectrum of ideas around seeds, people, conservation, biodiversity, science and art.
The fact that the project coincided with the 2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity was an added catalyst which has drawn a new audience to consider our region’s plant biodiversity, local indigenous plants, and the vital relationships between the population, economy, land and plants.  Whilst researching the abundant species of Queensland rainforest fruits early this year the journal sketches and notations of cross-sections of the fruit’s seed capsules became the visual means for the artist to represent this manifest regional plant variation. Simultaneously literal and symbolic, they seemingly refer to ancient and perrennial symbolic languages across culture and time, yet allow for a contemporary imagining on biological diversity. This deliberation on biodiversity through time – past, present and future – and humanities’ place in all of that is the concern of the artist in this year of the Homage to the Seed residency.
Sophie Munns has been dedicated to the visual arts for over 3 decades — maintaining a professional art practice, working as a teacher and facilitator, and managing an arts related business.
Homage to the Seed Blog:


Anonymous said...

Yay!!! How exciting!!! Good job Sophie!

Sophie Munns said...

Thank you Mary!
I dont add that much on what I'm up to at this blog.... using it to showcase other projects as I do.
Its such an interesting project to read about I was pleased to participate in a small way!

iNdi@na said...

followed the trail of breadcrumbs from your other page
lovely to see your work wandering to the west

Sophie Munns said...

well thank you India!
I have a real hankering to go to Perth...(also Adelaide to see the Museum of Economic Botany you've spoken of!)
Have spent a little time in Broome...but not south of much to discover!

Elaine said...

Oh, Sophie! This is so exciting and so well-deserved. Congratulations!

Thank you for stopping by - I always enjoy your visits. I just wanted to share this post with you because I knew you would enjoy it. So thankful for people like Jimmy Williams in our world:

Sophie Munns said...

Thank you Elaine,
much appreciated!

I have just read this story you have sent me...
and the last sentence...fabulous!
be in touch soon...

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