‘Symbiosis’ is Imagining Science’s current collaborative project, about relationships between art and science, scientists and artists. We’re using the fungi-plant symbiosis that is lichen to parallel the relationships we have with each other and our scientific and art communities, and between people and their environment. Symbiosis is a collaboration between Immy Smith (UK) and Scott Mantooth (US), with guest artists including Sarah Hearn (US), Marcel Bakker (Netherlands), and Hector Pineda Garcia (Mexico). We’re also working with University of Reading Herbarium (RNG), and a host of photographers from around the world.
Our event will take place during Reading Science Week March 15-22 2014, in The Rising Sun Arts Centre Reading, and is an art exhibition, with family drawing activities, and paper lichen models. Through hands-on drawing activities, we aim to engage and educate the public about the biology of lichens and their role in environmental monitoring, in addition to engaging with their aesthetic qualities and artistic form.
With the assistance of the Reading Herbarium collections and staff, Immy Smith is producing drawn, painted and collaged artworks. Scott Mantooth is producing naturally dyed paper, card, filters and vintage materials for artists to use in the project. The exhibition will include artwork on hand-dyed luggage tags and postcards. These media represent the ability of lichens to colonise environments across the globe and its role as a pioneer travelling species, with additional tags for participants to draw on and either take part in the exhibition or take away. Local artisan book-maker Beth Coin is being commissioned to produce a large format book from locally sourced handmade materials, which will be displayed containing artwork and information regarding lichen history, biology and economic uses. Drawing activities will take place at the beginning of the week, and involve drawing lichens, and learning about the OPAL air quality survey and guidance for taking part.