The corpus callosum (Latin for “tough body”) is a wide, flat white matter-made bundle of neural fibers that connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres, and facilitates the communication between the analytical left brain and the creative right brain. It is also, as of November 30th, the fitting name of a 2015 Knight Arts Challenge winner that will explore the creation of a new form of audience experience that combines classical music performances with advancements in neuroscience. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge funds ideas that bring South Florida together through the arts. The project has also support from New World Symphony and Frost Science.
Based on an original idea by filmmaker Jonathan David Kane (New World Symphony’s Videographer for Artistic Programs), who teamed up with artist Alexandra Kuechenberg (Frost Science’s Exhibition Developer) and myself, Corpus Callosum aims to produce entertaining and educational experiences that present a deeper understanding of how our brains work, and expose new audiences to the significance of complex music by means of immersive, synesthetic, and alternative concert viewing formats applicable to a full dome environment such as Frost Planetarium. During the development phase of our projects, with help from community partners, we will curate a series of engaging happenings around our research, including roundtables, panels, and lectures.
Additionally, Frost Science has also partnered with ArtCenter/South Florida to explore relevant water issues through the arts by creating ARTsail. ARTsail, also a 2015 Knight Arts Challenge winner, is a series of one-month residencies aboard a sailboat where participants will be commissioned to create work inspired by Miami’s relationship to water. The project will focus on the ocean, waterways, estuaries, and bays that surround Miami, and call upon teams of scientists, artists, and cultural creative minds to respond to challenges including coral restoration, high levels of phosphorus in the Everglades, and salt water intrusion into the aquifer.
Looking ahead, Frost Science is committed to keep playing an active role in bringing science and art together, something especially relevant in a community like Miami. Ongoing efforts like the Curious Vault Collaborations and the Science Art Cinema series are good examples of this, and will surely be joined by other once the new museum opens in the summer of 2016.
The Curious Vault Collaborations series, inspired by Frost Science’s collection, and presented by artist Kevin Arrow (Frost Science’s Art and Collection Manager) and writer Nathaniel Sandler, brings a local artist and scientist together with the intention of creating a tabletop display from their collaborative work using at least one item from the museum’s permanent collection. Now on its third instance, focused on the brain, the project has already successfully created two pieces on coral reef conservation, and the past, present and future of flight.
The Science Art Cinema series, a 2014 Knight Arts Challenge recipient, brings art and science enthusiasts together through the lens of film. The series mixes 20th century science and science fiction 16mm films with performances and multimedia presentations, and is curated by Kevin Arrow, Barron Sherer (Obsolete Media Miami’s Media Archivist), and myself. The ongoing series is set to culminate in a call for newly created and locally made films, in addition to a catalog to be designed by Open Door Design Studio, to which the community will be asked to contribute.
Furthermore, Frost Science is committed and open to explore new ways to advance fresh efforts that bring science and art together, including commissioning site-specific work from artists to be valued both for their scientific and artistic relevance.
In the end, somehow, it is art which allows us to understand, express, and share science: while science works to order the matter of the world, art orders its meaning. The worlds of aesthetics and scientific knowledge need to come together to facilitate favorable change. Science museums like ours seem the perfect scenario to look at the productive romance between science and art. Onwards!