What is life? Exhibition explores the link between art and science

Posted on: 20 July 2018

Professor of Comparative Immunology at Trinity, Cliona O’Farrelly, will open eyes and minds when she participates in an art-science conversation at the opening of an inspiring ‘What is life?’ exhibition in Co. Wexford on Friday July 20. The two-venue exhibition is set to celebrate the works of local and international artists working within the parameters of art and science.

The opening exhibition reception will take place at 5.00pm in Wexford County Hall, Carricklawn, and will be followed by the exhibition talk at Wexford Arts Centre at 7.00pm.  Professor O’Farrelly will open the exhibition in Wexford County Hall, Carricklawn, at 5 pm, before taking part in the conversation around ‘What is Life’ with Gerda Teljeur, who is one of the artists whose stunning works will be on show, in Wexford Arts Centre at 7 pm. This conversation will be mediated by the curator of the exhibition, Deirdre Southey. More information is available here.

Along with Gerda Teljeur, the artists whose work will be on show are Vera Klute, Meadbh O’Connor, Bea McMahon, David Beattie, Eleanor Duffin, Maria McKinney, John Cullen, Andrew Kenny and Fergus Doyle. The exhibition comprises pieces from installation, photography, drawing and video – all of which seek to engage the viewer and stimulate them to ponder ‘what is life?’

The exhibition specifically explores the potential for cross-disciplinary practice within art and science, and asks what art can contribute to science and vice versa as well as how the visual arts can interpret discoveries in science. All works were chosen for their use of scientific enquiry, playfulness and inventiveness – both in their artistic production and concepts.  Through their artworks questions around the ethics and care necessary for the future of life emerge and a reflection on the idea that the Earth is only given to us once.

The exhibition links with Trinity’s upcoming Schrödinger at 75 – The Future of Biology conference, which promises to be a stellar, one-of-its-kind international conference showcasing an unprecedented gathering of world-leading scientists — including seven Nobel Prize winners. Taking place on the 75th anniversary of Erwin Schrödinger’s historic What is Life? lectures, the conference will focus on the burning issues of science today, and on the research of today’s visionary scientists whose work will shape its future.

Professor O’Farrelly said:This beautiful exhibition brings to life some of the biggest questions that occupy the minds of all humans, such as: ‘What am I? Where am I? Why am I?’ The science underpinning these questions, and some of their answers, was explored by visionary particle physicist, Erwin Schrödinger, in his paradigm-shifting lecture series ‘What is Life’, which was delivered 75 years ago at Trinity College Dublin.”

“The exhibition links to the forthcoming symposium being held in Dublin, which will celebrate Schrödinger and explore the pressing scientific questions of 2018 through a 21st century lens.”

Schrödinger at 75 – The Future of Biology

When Schrödinger delivered his original lectures at Trinity College Dublin in 1943, the basis for heredity was the urgent unsolved question of its day. Fast-forward to 2018, and the speakers will address some of the most pertinent modern-day puzzles, including: What is the mind, and consciousness? How do we age? What are the limits and opportunities tied to gene editing? How can synthetic biology shape our future? What are the limits of bioenergetics? And what is the origin of life?

Among the speakers are Nobel winners, Susumu Tonegawa (1987, Physiology or Medicine), MIT; Linda Buck (2004, Physiology or Medicine), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre; Ada Yonath (2009, Chemistry), Weizmann Institute of Science; Thomas Südhof (2013, Physiology or Medicine), Stanford University; John O’Keeffe (2014, Physiology or Medicine), University College London; and Bernard Feringa (2016, Chemistry), University of Groningen. Other discipline-shaping speakers include cognitive scientist, Daniel Dennett, Tufts University, who will deliver the keynote public lecture; psychologist, Michael Gazzaniga, University of California, Santa Barbara; neuroscientist, Christoph Koch, Allen Institute for Brain Science; plant biologist, Ottoline Leyser, University of Cambridge; and geneticist, Linda Partridge, Max Planck Institute.

The Schrödinger at 75 – The Future of Biology conference will recapture the spirit of Schrödinger’s lectures, with Dublin’s magnificent National Concert Hall serving as the ideal base for over 1,000 delegates. Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics, home to the iconic and culturally significant Schrödinger Theatre, will also open its doors to provide a literal walk down memory lane.

More information about Schrödinger at 75 – The Future of Biology (September 5 – 6), including the line-up of esteemed speakers is available here.

Media Contact:

Thomas Deane, Media Relations Officer | deaneth@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4685