CollaborationPublished on 28.09.2022

Art and science join forces at AMI

The NanoARTS program, a collaboration between the Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg and the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia, has been launched, with three tandems of artists and scientists taking part.

For the NanoARTS call, pairings of Swiss artists and AMI scientists submitted proposals exploring interfaces between art and nanoscience. A transdisciplinary jury of experts selected three tandems whose collaborations will start in the next few months. The projects can take between 12 and 18 months to be completed.

The three tandems chosen by the jury are:

Claudia Christen (visual artist) and Dr. Jessica Clough (group leader in the AMI Polymer Chemistry and Materials group) and their project “Painting with Light: The Darkroom of Nature”. The tandem partners wish to explore connections and synergies between nanoscience and photography. The goal is to develop new methods of drawing with light through the use of mechano-responsive molecules that fluoresce when activated by force. The tandem partners will and combine their knowledge of light, optical signals, and mechanical processes in both photography and nanoscience.

Yvo Goette (designer) and Prof. Alke Fink (co-chair of the AMI BioNanomaterials group) and their project “Bigger Picture”. The starting point of this joint investigation are scientific imaging methods used to visualize the micro- and nanostructure of materials. Using these methods, the tandem will collect and translate data with the intention of building hypothetical 3D material models through parametric computer-aided design. The goal of the collaboration is to use the artistic design process to reveal and translate digital structures through various media.

Pedro Wirz (visual artist) and Prof. Christoph Weder (chair of the AMI Polymer Chemistry and Materials group) and their project “Material Changes”. The tandem proposes to question the term and usage of “sustainability” through a transdisciplinary dialogue between the arts and science. The dialogue will revolve around concepts such as technology vs. nature; value-added recycling and reuse; nanostructures in natural and artificial materials, amongst others. The tandem will ultimately create objects to document their dialogue, using different artificial and natural materials.

The selected tandems will be accompanied by an expert in art-science mediation. Through contextualizing workshops, common activities and tailored coaching, the mediator will frame and accompany the exchange between the artists and scientists. Furthermore, the art-science mediator will be present during the production process of the artistic outcome as well as its dissemination.

Pro Helvetia press release: English, German, French, and Italian