The Spectacle of Science: Humanities at the Crossroads of Innovation



Thursday 8th November, 6:00pm–9:00pm

MUSE Building, Level 3, 18 Wally’s Walk, Conference Rm A

Showcase & Cocktail Reception.

This showcase event on the intersection between Art and Science will highlight the way humanities methods have been used to propel and communicate scientific discovery. Each project in our showcase represents the integration of scientific and humanities methods for the transformation of our understanding of the world and our place within it.


The format of the evening will be one of wonder and spectacle, to remind us that scientific communication (broadly conceived) has historically been embedded in worlds of social and intellectual ritual. From the salon through to the cabinet of curiosity, we want to resurrect these collaborative rituals of knowledge from the segregation of C.P. Snow’s ‘two cultures’.

The showcase will feature:

Oron Catts, tissue engineer, artist, curator and researcher is the co-founder and director of SymbioticA, the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts within the School of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia. SymbioticA is the first research laboratory to unite artists and researchers in wet biology practices as part of an exploration of the cultural ideas around scientific knowledge and the ethical and cultural issues of life manipulation. Known for his work on The Tissue Culture and Art Project he has been involved in such artistic provocations as the Victimless Leather Project (a stitch-less jacket grown from cell cultures into a layer of living tissue supported by a coat-shaped, biodegradable polymer matrix), the Pig Wings Project (wing-shaped objects grown using living pig tissue), and the Semi-Living Worry Dolls Project (worry dolls hand crafted out of degradable polymers and surgical sutures and seeded with living cells) among others.

Kathryn Millard, filmmaker, essayist, archivist, interdisciplinary scholar, and Professor in Film and Creative Arts in the Department of Media, Music, Communication & Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. Over her extensive body of work, Millard has investigated colour, the afterlife of images, place, and the history and present of psychology. As writer and director, she is known for the features Random 8, The Boot Cake, Travelling Light, Parklands, Light Years, and more. In recent years with Shock Room she has focused on using the techniques of immersive realism to replicate and reconstitute the infamous 1960s Milgram psychology experiments in order to shed light on overlooked stories of resistance and disobedience. Through her collaboration with social psychologist Associate Professor Stephen Gibson at York St John University and investigation of the archives at Yale she has continued this reappraisal of the Milgram experiments with her latest documentary Experiment 20.

Jennie Hudson, Professor and Director of the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and Joe Lander, multi-disciplinary Artist in Residence in the Faculty of Human Sciences, Macquarie University have collaborated over the last year on a unique project which looks at the efficacy of portraiture in reducing mental health stigma and encouraging help-seeking in adolescent males. Through an exhibition of 30 portraits of men of all ages who have experienced and recovered from depression, accompanied by a written narrative detailing each person’s story and recovery, Portraits of Recovery: Reducing the Stigma of Mental Health in Men aims to provide templates of recovery for people experiencing depression and a model for friends and families to support them.

The parting of the ways between the arts and the sciences represented and reinforced by the media exaggerates the differences between the disciplines and simplifies collaboration into a hierarchy that privileges quantitative processes over qualitative. The history and present of the disciplines however tells a different story of entanglement, engagement and infusion at the level of process and self-conception. These three projects illuminate the rich and diverse intersections between Art and Science for the transformation of our experience of the world.

This event is supported by the Faculty of Arts, the Ancient Cultures Research Centre and the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University in association with the Environmental Humanities Research Stream.

Register here before the 5th of November.