The Arts, Science & Culture Initiative and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) are pleased to announce the 2015–16 Graduate Collaboration Grant recipients. The Arts, Science & Culture Initiative Graduate Collaboration Grants encourage independent trans-disciplinary research between students in the arts and the sciences. Each group worked together over the course of the academic year to investigate a series of critical questions from the perspectives offered by their respective disciplines.

 

Molecular Movement

What does it feel like to be a molecule? In Molecular Movement, Andrew Bearnot (MFA candidate, Visual Art, UChicago), Ken Ellis-Guardiola (PhD student, Chemistry, UChicago) and Jeff Montgomery (PhD student, Chemistry, UChicago) will explore the notion of molecular dynamics through dance, reimagining the Brownian (random) motion of the molecular world as a novel grammar of movement. Through a choreography of chance and improvisation governed by simple gestures, rules, and costumes, Molecular Movement will engage large ensembles of untrained bodies, addressing these participants as both performer and audience. The project expands on limitations of current chemical models and simulations, and may provide unique scientific insights in areas such as protein engineering. This work also functions as a tool of education and outreach, embodying abstract scientific ideas in formats that are approachable, playful, and engaging to diverse audiences.

Faculty Advisors: Catherine Sullivan (Associate Professor, Department of Visual Art, UChicago); Jared Lewis (Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, UChicago); Raymond Moellering (Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, UChicago)

 

Crystals: Order and Disorder

What is the role of disorder in the formation of material structures? A crystal is defined by its order, but the fluid media that crystals are often precipitated from are disordered. Additionally, a perfect crystal is perfectly ordered, but in reality crystals have defects that introduce elements of disorder into the system. Through experiment and conversation, April Martin (MFA candidate, Sculpture, SAIC) and Nicole James (PhD candidate, Chemistry, UChicago) investigate how materials (dis)order themselves over time. Working with ceramics, salts, metals, and fluids, the collaboration explores the creation and destruction of crystalline forms. Of special interest in the role of time, energy, and material nature.  

Faculty Advisors: Heinrich Jaeger (William J. Friedman and Alicia Townsend Professor of Physics and James Franke Institute, Department of Physics, UChicago); Benjamin DeMott (Assistant Professor, Ceramics Department and Contemporary Practices Department, SAIC)

 

Magnifying Identity

Magnifying Identity: The Ways We Look at Ants explores artistic and scientific methodologies of constructing identity through the careful observation and analysis of ants from the eastern Himalayas. In the lab and in the field, ant species are distinguished by both their unique nest architecture and their underlying distinct genetic code. Through this collaboration, Jan Brugger (MFA candidate, Visual arts, UChicago) and K. Supriya (Ph.D candidate, Evolutionary Biology, UChicago) will create sculptural objects that entangle the various modes of classifying ants, in the process asking what role the scientist, and the artist, play in shaping the identity of the organisms they observe. 

Faculty Advisors: Trevor Price (Provessor of Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, UChicago); Jason Salavon (Assosciate Professor, Department of Visual Arts, UChicago)

 

Filament Findings

Filament Findings is a collaborative investigation into problematic materials that centers on 3D printing and cytoskeletal structures. Keeley Haftner (MFA candidate, Fiber and Material Studies, SAIC) and Will McFadden (PhD candidate, Biophysics, UChicago) intend to merge the former’s studio practice of making waste plastics into 3D printing filament with the latter’s study of web-like spheres made from biopolymer filaments. With special attention to the production and consumption of organic and inorganic materials, the project provides fertile ground for probing biologic and petroleum-based matter.

Faculty Advisors: Sara Black (Assistant Professor, Sculpture Department, SAIC); Edwin Munro (Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, UChicago)

 

Scaling Quelccaya

The near-global glacier retreat of recent decades is among the most convincing evidences for contemporary climate change.  But how can we understand the scale of a glacier, both physically and temporally, from very far away? How can we relate to these seemingly abstract but very real climate changes in our world? Scaling Quelccaya will explore visual strategies for conveying the retreat of the Quelccaya Ice Cap, the world’s largest tropical glaciated area, located in the Peruvian Andes.  Drawing on 30 years of satellite imagery of the Quelccaya Ice Cap, Meredith Leich (MFA candidate, Film, Video, New Media, and Animation, SAIC) and Andrew Malone (PhD candidate, Glaciology and Climatology, UChicago) will generate a virtual recreation of the glacier’s retreat using 3D animation and gaming software.  The final result will be an animated video installation that juxtaposes the glacier with the city of Chicago, placing the two sites in an imagined framework to bring these distant spaces into intimate scale.

Faculty Advisors: Doug MacAyeal (Professor, Department of Geophysical Sciences, UChicago); Marlena Novak (Lecturer, Film, Video, New Media and Animation Department, SAIC)

Funded by the Graduate Division, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

 

Woven Relations

Setting forth to study various mathematical relationships, algorithms and concepts through the production of cloth, Woven Relations investigates the interconnected histories of jacquard weaving and computer science. Dylan Fish (MFA candidate, Fiber & Material Studies, SAIC) and Daniel Johnstone (PhD candidate, Mathematics, UChicago) will explore various historically significant equations and encryption algorithms through two-dimensional and three-dimensional woven forms with the intention of visually elucidating the mystery behind the function and implementation of modern mathematics and computation.

Faculty Advisors: Ngô Bao Châu (Francis and Rose Yuen Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Mathematics, UChicago); Heather Dewey-Hagborg (Assistant Professor, Art & Technology Department, SAIC)

Funded by the Graduate Division, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

 

 

Contact

Julie Marie Lemon, Program Director and Curator
773.702.8029
jmlemon@uchicago.edu

Video

Molecular Movement
Crystals: Order and Disorder
Magnifying Identity
Filament Findings
Scaling Quelccaya
Woven Relations