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A Scientific Encounter: artists responding to and engaging with research collections and museum objects through the critical prism of the philosopher Bruno Latour’s concept of ‘inter-objectivity’

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Richard Talbot, Irene Brown, Professor Wolfgang Weileder, Dr Edward Juler

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Abstract

This multi-part research project examines how we see the world through scientific objects, and how those objects affect us. Originating in an international research collaboration between Newcastle University, the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Montpellier Agglomeration, and Montpellier University, the project involved Fine Art researchers reflecting upon the collections of medical and scientific objects held by Montpellier University through the critical prism of the philosopher Bruno Latour’s concept of ‘inter-objectivity’ (the idea of how objects interact with human and non-human subjects and objects). Due to the mostly unmediated and uncatalogued nature of the collections, researchers were able to tender new practice-led interpretations of the specimens from outside the norms of received information, knowledge or classification. Methods, Outputs and Dissemination. Following research visits by artists to the research collections at University of Montpellier, new art works subsequently made by Brown, Talbot and Weileder exhibited in ‘A Scientific Encounter: On inter-objectivity’ in Montpellier. The format and method of the curated exhibition consisted of ‘pairings’ of the art works with specific objects from the collections. Subsequent presentation and discussion of the research at a symposium in Montpellier - including Newcastle researchers Juler, Brown, Talbot, Weileder. An edited book titled ‘Post-Specimen: Encounters Between Art, Science and Curating - Rethinking Art Practice and Objecthood through Scientific Collections (Intellect, 2020) (co-edited by Juler) builds on the exhibition and symposium. The book engages the original critical framework through exploring, in a series of cross-disciplinary essays, what a specimen or museum object might be, when analysed in the light of contemporary arts practice. Includes chapters by Brown, Juler and Talbot, alongside invited contributions from scholars in other disciplinary fields. Subsequent presentation of full project at the 9th European Society for the History of Science ConferenceVisual, Material and Sensory Cultures of Science’, Bologna, 2020.


Publication metadata

Artist(s): Talbot R, Brown I, Weileder W, Juler E

Publication type: Exhibition

Publication status: Published

Year: 2020

Venue: La Panacée: Centre de culture contemporaine

Location: Montpellier


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