'Spare Parts' Review - The Science Gallery

March 12, 2019

28 February - 12 May 2019

 

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The Science Gallery, King’s new love child of art and science, is strategically located near the entrance of Guy’s Campus – an unavoidable sight when walking from London Bridge station. On February 28, they opened their doors to the new "season". The gallery works with temporary exhibitions centred around a specific theme. This season, Spare Parts, centres on philosophical, artistic and scientific representation of the construction and deconstruction of the human body – and everything that comes with it: from prosthetics, the emotional journey of organ transplants, to the separation of mind and body both as fragments and as a whole. 

 

Big Heart Data (2018)

 

The main entrance to the gallery welcomes the viewer with an eye-catching installation of streetlights. Life Pulse, by Michael Pinsky, has multiple streetlights flickering to different heartbeats. Visitors can set their own heartbeats to be registered in the piece as well, creating a kinetic sculpture. It sets the tone for the exhibition, successfully presenting the intricate relationship between technology and human life within a highly participatory environment.

 

The exhibition continues on the first floor of the gallery. The set-up of Spare Parts starts off more philosophical, pondering on trans humanism and the altering of the voice. One of the first visible pieces is Ghost Writer by Svenja Kratz is a definite highlight of the exhibition. The writing machine uses AI technology to mimic the artists’ handwriting and write down an endless stream on consciousness on paper based on pre-programmed thoughts by the creator as well as specific words that the piece picks up from its environment. 

 

Ghost Writer (2017) 

 

Walking further down the rooms, the exhibition turns more interactive and focused on the scientific. The Gut is an example of an interactive work like it: a workspace in the middle of the exhibition that involves live research projects by King’s MsC students on prosthetics activations, and shows different activities to the public, including 3D printing. It will change with the exhibition as the research furthers, as more experiments will emerge. Its prospect of change adds another dimension to the exhibition, turning it almost into a transforming organism in itself. 

 

Further on in the exhibition, interdisciplinary artist John Douglas evokes emotion with his work Circles of Fire. This work, made up of sculptures and video art, displays the metaphoric journey of what it is like to get a transplant. The artist drew inspiration from experience, as he himself nearly died from a kidney transplant. The video art in the piece features "the doors of hell", hence why it is called Circles of Fire. The topic is dark, yet surprisingly accessible for the public to emphathise with. 

 

A definite highlight from the exhibition is Big Heart Data, a collaboration between designer Salomé Bazin and cardiologist Dr Pablo Lamata. The work is made up of a wall of 3D printed heart sculptures displaying the change of the heart from birth to adulthood, accompanied by software on a screen, showing the developments as well. "All hearts are healthy, different, and they all work. We have differences in our organs", says the duo when presenting their work, leading up to a call for a more personalised healthcare. 

 

Throughout the entire exhibition, wooden structures grace the ceilings of the rooms in what the curators described as an organic, “prosthetic” part of the building, adding on to the theme and feel of the exhibition. It makes for a dynamic experience of connection between the rooms, even though the pieces displayed are all very different in their relations to science an to art. 

 

This season is definitely more of an ode to science than it is to art. The Science Gallery is extremely clever in interweaving the ever-transforming relationship between art, science and technology, and is even more clever in showing this to the public. For those eager to learn, Spare Parts is a must-see.

 

 

Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor

 

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