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Friday, 25 June 2010

The sound of the internet

The British Museum is a massive influence in bridging the scientist-layman chasm  and I can safely say that they are one of the greats piloting the runaway sci-art bandwagon.   It's Science Museum Arts Project "explores artists’ perspectives on the past, present and future of science and technology, creating new opportunities for encountering contemporary art".  Hurray!  Something to get stuck into, and if I didn't live 250 miles away, I'd be in there prometheus-like, notebook in hand, bringing you all the latest.  So, until I get a visit in the next month or so, I will have to just provide you with a tantalising snippet (for both you and I) of what the project has to offer.

The Listening Post, is one of it's central installations at the moment and is the brain child of Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin.  The Listening Post is a rhythm of computer-synthesised voices reading out real-time words and sentences being typed into chatrooms, bulletin boards and forums from all over the internet.  It does so in real time, sampling the fragments from unrestricted and unedited sources.  
Hansen and Rubin bring to you "Stray thoughts that resonate through the space in sound and voice as texts surge, flicker, appear and disappear, at varying sizes and speeds, across a suspended grid of over 200 small electronic screens. An ambient soundtrack accompanies the activity with isolated pulses reminiscent of computer modems, clatterings, footsteps and the beeping of mechanical answering machines. At intervals darkness and silence take over, creating momentary pauses before Listening Post continues with its next movement."
Other exhibits include 'Who Am I?' which explores the challenging area of biomedical science, covering major themes such as human identity, language, consciousness, genetics, sexuality and brain science.  A series of smaller exhibits are also scattered through the ground floor that communicate the ways in which the artist feels modern science has influenced them and the world around them.

It is exciting to see that an organisation as big and powerful as the National Museum of Science and Industry are not afraid to delve into the increasingly popular fusion of the two fundamentally disparate worlds of art and science to become a forerunner in the campaign to bring science to the nation through creative arts.
Watch this space for an in-depth review of the exhibits this summer!

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