Interdisciplinary artist Laura Splan’s Tangible Variations weavings created in collaboration with theoretical biophysicist Adam Lamson are on view at the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art in Seeing the Unseen: Science + Art, a group exhibition exploring intersections of science and art through contemporary art practice. The Tangible Variations series includes computerized Jacquard weavings of Lamson's scientific visualizations of molecular phenomena.
About the ArtistLaura Splan (@laurasplan) is a transdisciplinary artist working at the intersections of science, technology, and culture. Her research-based studio practice culminates in multimedia exhibitions that reframe artifacts of biotechnology to unravel entanglements of natural and built systems. Splan's artworks and exhibitions combining poetic materialities and sensory experiences have been presented at Museum of Arts & Design, Pioneer Works, and New York Hall of Science. Her work is represented in the collections of Thoma Art Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and has been commissioned by the CDC Foundation and Bruges Triennial. Her work has been featured on Science Friday and included in "Life Eternal" published by The Nobel Prize Museum. Splan’s research has been supported by the Jerome Foundation and Simons Foundation and she was an NEA Digital Arts Fellow at AS220. She advises artists through Plexus Creative, her studio practice advisory, and has taught new media art courses at Stanford University.
About the Collaboration“Tangible Variations” is part of Sticky Settings, a sciart collaboration between interdisciplinary artist Laura Splan and theoretical biophysicist Adam Lamson. Their projects explore entanglements of computational and biological worlds through research, co-creation, and public engagement. Their process and production are informed by Lamson’s biophysical simulations and Splan’s studio practice interrogating scientific imaging techniques. Lamson’s chromatin simulations serve as both material and as conceptual framework for artworks that attempt to communicate complex biology by connecting virtual representations of the biological world with sensory encounters and tactile experiences. The collaboration looks for potential for deeper understanding of science through rematerialized representations of molecular phenomena. Their weavings, soundscapes, and animations engage audiences with abstract biological and mathematical concepts using familiar media, immersive experiences, and visually arresting imagery. The creative underpinnings of Sticky Settings are informed by Splan and Lamson’s shared fascination with the layers of translation involved in digital representations of molecular biology. In software interfaces, “sticky settings” is a phrase used to describe “remembered” user settings. “Sticky” is also a term Lamson uses to describe certain molecular interactions in his computer-generated models. In biology, evidence has emerged for gene bookmarking suggesting mechanisms of epigenetic memory or “stickiness” in DNA. Their collaborative artworks repurpose the “GUI” interfaces with which we confront “gooey” biological materialities in the lab and reframe their implications in our everyday lives.