Understanding complex issues in science with art

Mon, Jan 14, 2019

Can art and science come together to explain complex issues? That’s what Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s first artist-in-residence will discuss at the next KPU Science World Speaker Series.

“In the sciences, you’re thinking of hard principles,” says Sylvia Grace Borda, KPU’s first artist-in-residence. “What most people don’t realize is that both the sciences and arts can embrace participatory action and ideas to distribute messages. Both disciplines are platforms where people can engage in conversation.”

Borda will use examples of her artwork produced in artist residencies in Europe and at KPU to illustrate how she uses scientific concepts in her art. For example, her main medium is photography and one way she uses science in her art is through photogram projects, a method of projecting real object images onto photosensitive paper or material.

She worked with seniors and youth in the town of Lumsden, Scotland, on a project that combined a revival of shortbread making with learning more about vegetation in the area. They used photograms of the flora to create edible photographs on Lumsden shortbread biscuits.

“The biscuits told people about their local geography, environmental science and citizen science. They facilitated community interaction and brought together this movement that allowed seniors and youth to create their own social enterprise.”

Borda hopes that what people take away from this talk is the need to engage science and art together.

“A lot of this kind of work with science and art is already happening at KPU,” she adds. “Today’s complex issues bring together people to help solve or tell the story.”

Borda’s talk at Science World on January 29, 2019, is supported by a solo exhibition in the Arbutus Gallery at KPU’s Surrey campus from January 20 – February 8. The exhibition showcases some of her new art projects created while in residence at KPU.

“Having our first artist-in-residence speak to the intersection of art and science is the perfect opportunity to showcase the connection between art and science,” says Diane Purvey, dean of the faculty of arts.

“Art can synthesize and convey complex scientific information, challenge dominant paradigms, promote new ways of looking at issues, and touch people’s emotions,”

To register for the Science World talk, visit kpu.ca/scienceworld.

More information about Borda’s work is available at http://www.sylviagborda.com/.