Science Museum London Arts Programme 2011

Science Museum Arts projects explore artists’ perspectives on the past, present and future of science and technology, creating new opportunities for encountering contemporary art. Projects by exceptional artists offer new ways of thinking about the impact of science within wider cultural contexts. The programme includes temporary and permanent works within the museum’s galleries, as well one-off events, talks, research projects and art exhibitions.

10 Climate Stories
Opening 8 April, 2011
A new exhibition, 10 Climate Stories, opening at the Science Museum on Friday 8 April, showcases artworks from established and emerging artists, offering new perspectives on the famous displays, as well as revealing hidden stories behind some of the museum’s best-loved exhibits.

In The Toaster Project, emerging designer and Royal College of Art graduate Thomas Thwaites pulled apart the cheapest toaster he could find – and then built his own, by mining and processing all the raw materials himself and manufacturing every component. The magnificently imperfect result offers a playful yet powerful comment on consumer culture.

Longplayer, by Jem Finer, is a one thousand year long piece of music that began playing on 31 December 1999. A new listening post playing this critically acclaimed work will be installed in the museum’s flagship gallery, Making the Modern World. Nearby, Yao Lu’s arresting images from the New Landscapes series depict a rapidly changing world – where all is not what it seems.

10 Climate Stories is part of the museum’s three-year Climate Changing programme – a series of thought-provoking events that accompanies the *atmosphere… exploring climate science gallery.

Conrad Shawcross
Opening 11 May, 2011
“Throughout my life I have always returned to the Science Museum. It has always been a great source of inspiration to me and indeed whenever I feel the reservoirs are low or just need to get away from the wood to see the trees again, the Science Museum is a place I invariably return and it always seems to re-align me. This is pretty much seventh heaven for me.” Conrad Shawcross.

For the past year Shawcross has been the Science Museum’s artist in residence, peering into the depths of the Museum’s collection and minds of its expert curators to extend his own personal investigations into the construction of certainty and beliefs in science. To celebrate the end of his residency, funded by The Leverhulme Trust, Shawcross is proposing a series of interventions in the Mathematics gallery that questions where mathematics comes from. We are used to being presented with the end result of mathematical thought, but what has now become abstract certainties emerged from very human practices. Over centuries human discovery has been affected by the way we encounter mathematics. Shawcross’s interventions will open up a playful dialogue between mathematics and our instinctive human curiosity to engage with the world around us.

Electroboutique – Art that Cares
November 2011
Shulgin and Chernyshev – aka Electroboutique – are among the most renowned figures in Russian media art. Their practice is built upon a dialogue with audiences and creating works that challenge viewers’ expectations.

Art that Cares will comprise unique artworks developed over the last five years by the group’s artists, designers and engineers, plus a new commission specifically for the Science Museum. It has been created by the group to present works which raise questions about technological progress, consumerism, eco-consumerism, media control, and corporate appropriation of climate change and sustainability ideologies, for what the group view to be often cynical marketing strategies, unsupported, they argue, by companies’ actual activities.

Suzanne Treister – Hexen II
Hexen II is the sequel to Treister’s acclaimed 2006 project, Hexen 2039, which imagined new technologies for psychological warfare, whilst investigating links between conspiracy theories, occult groups, Chernobyl, witchcraft, the US film industry, British Intelligence agencies, Soviet brainwashing, and behaviour control experiments of the US Army.

Hexen II will make connections between histories of Cybernetics, the seminal Macy Conferences of 1943-1956, whose primary goal was to set the foundations for a general science of the workings of the human mind, and re-present these in relation to specific critics of technological society, and social networking sites, including Theodore Kaczynski (aka the Unabomber). It will present and re-frame these through a lens of occult belief systems and ideas of the supernatural.

David Shrigley
House of Cards
In 2010, David Shrigley was commissioned to create an artwork for our new gallery atmosphere …exploring climate science, which offers fresh and exciting ways to make sense of the climate. Responding to the theme of ‘our changing climate’, Shrigley proposed a large-scale wall drawing called House of Cards which highlights the fragility of the interconnected system we live within. Shrigley says, “The metaphor I have used is quite a straightforward one: our atmosphere and environment are in very delicate balance; a balance that it could be disastrous for us to upset.” David Shrigley’s work is the first in a series of commissions for atmosphere over the next five years.

A Cockroach Tour of the Science Museum
A Cockroach Tour of the Science Museum is a participatory art project by Superflex for. Visitors dress up in realistic cockroach costumes and take a journey through the Museum, exploring the impact of scientific and technological developments on the climate, from the perspective of one of our planet’s true survivors, the cockroach. We human’s are a curious breed constantly beetling away with new discoveries and inventions. Cockroaches represent long life spans and having outlived the dinosaurs, what will cockroaches make of our human obsessions with speed, time… and burning things?

The Cockroach Tours are every Saturday and Sunday until December 2011.

Dryden Goodwin
Caul 8
Cradle Head 4 Synapse
For the 2010 update of the Who am I? gallery Dryden Goodwin created three new works, Caul 8, Cradle Head 4 and Synapse, installed in a case including brain scanning technology. Goodwin makes portraits of strangers he sees in passing on the street and public transport, and uses drawing, photography and film to attempt to discover insights into these strangers. He sees relationships between the way he uses drawing as an act of speculation and exploration and scientists’ uses of instruments to try and understand the human brain.

As well as responding to physical appearance, Goodwin’s drawn marks seem to make visible the unseen aspects of the individuals he draws, suggesting a sense of mystery and the unknowable. In turn, through these richly detailed portraits, as viewers we arrive at our own conclusions about his subjects, their thoughts and feelings. Seeing them reminds us of the mysteries inherent in being human, which we may never completely unravel. We find ourselves asking questions about whether science or art gives us a truer picture, or whether they just reveal different things.

Visitor Information
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD
Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December / 0870 870 4868

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