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Joey O'Gorman



My research in Art and Science at Central Saint Martins explores the role of personal meaning in understanding scientific knowledge. I am also interested in how informal spaces could foster exchange between disciplines.

Emotional engagement and ethical and aesthetic concerns play essential roles in scientific research through the production of new models, interpretation of data, and interactions with the research community and a variety of stake holders. All of these processes are affected by personal experience and societal attitudes, and they in turn influence broader cultures through technological developments and new ways of seeing. In my research I investigate this intimate generative connexion between science and culture, viewing scientific discovery as an emergent property that derives from complex relationships between a plurality of world views.

In formal academic spheres there are various factors, from career and funding concerns to the use of specialised language, which constrain how openly researchers talk about their work. I am interested in exploring how different fora can be used to facilitate open discourse. I aim to invest these discussions with the audience’s personal readings so as to demystify certain esoteric notions of science. Also, through investigating how visual communication is currently used, and how it could be extended, within the laboratory, I want to identify processes which enrich how scientists think about their subject and liberate them from current dogmas.

My art practice parallels my previous work as a molecular biologist. Through the physical actions, enacted during experimentation, an intimate relationship with a subject is formed. As outcomes are predicted but essentially unknown, the path forward is plastic, new data creating new potentials and the new question asked opening up further, sometimes tangential pathways. I construct schemes which attempt to trace how information flows within systems. The initial structure is informed by how different aspects relate to each other and the influence of bias and context on these interactions. In drawing these connections I meditate on and think around a subject. The physical act of exploring these rationalisations reinforces the memories, emotions, and sensations that I associate with them, and reference points shift within an evolving framework, which orders and disintegrates, thereby seeding new trains of thought. These drawings, which reflect an internal space, complement conversations with collaborators and audiences that are themselves drawings in social space.

Through this practice I am interested in developing gestural conversations which trace the evolution of one particular to another, picking out discrete elements of duration against a cacophonous background of unrealised potentials. I hope to gain insight into how complex systems are apprehended through internal and external dialogues, and consider how personal histories affect perceptions, restricting or prompting the formulation of new hypotheses. Through conversation with other viewpoints I try to empathise with different psychologies, social contexts, and cultural narratives, standing outside of, and thereby challenging, my previous worldview. In connection to this approach I am interested in exploring how an art practice can be used in multi-disciplinary collaborations.

2012-ongoing Research Affiliate, MA Art and Science, Central Saint Martins, UAL.

Jan-Dec 2014 Drawing Life, a series of experimental drawing workshops that explore ecology, with the Grant Museum of Zoology for the Share Academy (Arts Council England funded collaboration between UAL and the London Museums Group).http://drawinglifeinthegrant.wordpress.com/

Nov 2014 Topographies of a Nested Soul, performance for Vanishing Entities at Limewharf, London.

Oct 2014 Terms of Engagement, talk for the Government Office for Science, London.

Nov 2013-Sep 2014 The Cruciform Hub Timeline, mural commission, UCL Medical School.

May 2014 Escape from Australia: James Martin’s Memorandoms, exhibition design,
Bentham Project, UCL.

May-Aug 2013 Largactyl Shuffle @ Science Museum LATES, volunteer participant in programme of public events relating the history of science to mental distress, collaboration between the CoolTan Arts charity and the London Science Museum.

Jul 2013 The History of British Sign Language, exhibition design, DCAL, UCL.

Jun 2013 Nonanonamourous, an intervention that used drawing to explore the Concerns of activists attending the Bilderberg Fringe Festival demonstration, Watford.

Apr 2013 Salving Successions and Ruptures with the Past, performative lecture examining non-linear histories of nineteenth century medical discoveries, the Old Operating Theatre Museum, London.

Feb 2013 Science: beyond the bench, history of science seminar.

Feb 2013 Creativity and Science: Dispatches from the Art World, SciBar talk,
Oxfordshire Branch of the British Science Association, Oxford.

Dec 2012 Material Matters, object handling workshop, UCL Science Collections.

Nov-Dec 2012 Scientists Talking, seminar series, speakers: Dr. Catrina Gadelha, Dr. Hannah Mischo, Dr. Christian Lesterlin, Dr. James Halstead.

Mar 2012 Biochemical Byways, exhibition and workshop, Linacre College, Oxford.


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