Jo Berry / Art-Science Interplay
“I have been working as an artist for over thirty years. I am fascinated by light, colour, lasers, technology and science. My initial curiosity in how artists can work with scientists was piqued in 1998 when I became aware of the SciArt scheme. The ethos of the SciArt scheme encouraged me, as an artist, to seek out Life Scientists to collaborate with because the methods we employ to create images are connected. We both use laser technology (I make laser-cut lightboxes), which requires knowledge of light, optics, and computer visualisation methods and I am fascinated by how I can use scientific image data innovatively. As a result, since 2010, a central part of my practice has involved contributing to scientific research projects as one of the research team.
I identified a gap in knowledge while working with scientists in labs. There was a lack of understanding between the two disciplines of approaches to imaging and its potential. I wanted to discover if and how an artist-researcher can contribute to new methods of interdisciplinary approaches in advanced imaging and microscopy through collaborative practice. Over the last ten years I have collaborated with Advanced imaging and Microscopy specialists, working with a network of internationally renowned core imaging laboratories in the field of Life Science. My aim is to dismantle silo mentalities so that artist-researchers can collaborate with scientists to create new representations, insights and behavioural change. I implemented a four-stage framework and protocol underpinned by the inclusion of play. Each element helped me negotiate and interpret art and science collaboration in new ways by extending art and scientific methods of visualisation. This led to non-standard representations, technological advancements, and better intellectual and visualisation skills, hence enhancing practice-based research through collaboration. Each element helped me negotiate and interpret art and science collaboration in new ways by extending art and scientific methods of visualisation. I advanced three methods of production: an introspective, digital drawing method using limited tools; data montages where data and documentary footage are explored; and experimental moving image work, integrating documentary film footage and sound. The work I will show at Coningsby Gallery showcases artwork made from three recent collaborations at:
• COMPARE, The Cell Signalling and Pharmacology Group and a minor study at the Molecular and the Cellular Biology Group, School of Life Sciences, Queens Medical School, University of Nottingham. • Core Research Laboratories Imaging and Analysis Centre, Natural History Museum (NHM), London, • The Centre for Cellular Imaging (CCI) Sahlgrenska Academy Gothenburg University, Chalmers University and the Biofilms, Research Centre for Bio-interfaces, Malmo University.
High-quality outputs from working with scientists’ include Ars Electronica -Virtual Garden (2020). SCANDEM the Nordic imaging society (2019), Centre for Cellular Imaging (CCI) Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden. Biofilms, Research Centre for Bio interfaces at the annual research centre conference (2018), theme ‘Biomarkers’, Malmo University, Sweden. The Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE) Compare Conference (2018) and formal launch of COMPARE, Medical School, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham. Decriminalising Ornament: The Pleasures of Pattern Ruskin Gallery (2018) Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. The Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE) Compare, Conference (2017), Nottingham University Conference Centre. Light it Up: Brains, Psychosis, Neuroimaging & Us a collaboration with the Neuro Translational Imaging Department, Nottingham University to create Brain Container, Blackpool Illuminations (2017, 2016, 2015). Hijacking Natural Systems funded by Wellcome Trust, ACE, Derby City Council and Derby Museum & Arts Gallery (2012). This was a highly successful project nominated by Nottingham University for The Times Higher Education Award and cited by the Wellcome Trust as an exemplar of a successful Arts and Engagement project. Artwork from this project was featured in the BBC4 TV series The Beauty of Anatomy (2014, 2017) presented by Dr Adam Rutherford. Residencies include Florence Trust, London, Natural History Museum, London.
I exhibit regularly and widely throughout the Country and Internationally with pieces in the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), Arts Council England (ACE) East Midland Collections, Nottingham University Medical School and Zeiss, Munich, Germany. Residencies include the Florence Trust Studios, London, the Natural History Museum, London, the Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham University. Public commissions include Blackpool Illuminations, Redesign of five 1938 Fluted Pylons for 100th Anniversary of the Illuminations (2012), Millfield Sculpture Commission (2011), Derbyshire Moorlands (2010), Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust (2008), New Shetland Museum & Archives (2007). I have acquired highly transferable skills gaining a national reputation as a leader in Illustration research by celebrating its fundamental principles and practices aided by an extensive network of contacts, activity and experience. Undertaking teaching and scholarship projects of national and international significance linked to professional bodies and successful funding bids adding to my professional development. I currently work as a Lecturer in Illustration and Graphic Design at Loughborough University.”