A non-resident residency?

Exciting 2023 update – we’re launching a physical exhibition of Emily’s work in LifeSpace. Book your free launch event ticket on Eventbrite – there’ll be more information coming soon!

2020 has been quite a year, hasn’t it? With the breakdown in normality from the Covid-19 pandemic, we can no longer take anything for granted. Our science art collaboration with LifeSpace, so closely tied to the physical gallery space, cannot work as before. Nor can it rest. In times of challenge, it can be easy for us to get lost in our own silo. For scientists and artists to collaborate now may not seem like the obvious choice, but for us it’s even more essential than before.

With this in mind, we’ve been working with colleagues at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design to explore how we can make a remote residency happen. Can it be even more illuminating than a ‘normal’ residency?

Read Emily’s most recent post here, or scroll down for the whole story.

Artist Emily Fong demonstrates an unusual banana phone

In February, before the scale of what was about to happen had become clear, we had the great pleasure of meeting artist Emily Fong. Emily is an artist exploring life and death, embodiment and emotion; the experience of existing in a human container. Her artistic practice is underpinned by the observation and communication of the life cycles of living things; growth, mortality and change from the micro to the macro. Through the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture and writing, she seeks to highlight our similarities not only to one another but also to other species that occupy this planet. What are we made of? How are we structurally and emotionally connected beneath the skin? Her intuition is that by going deep inside life, turning it inside out, she might discover new ways of observing and re-configuring the outside.

She’s also a delightful human being, with a charm and energy all her own. We were very interested in the idea of a residency, with Emily coming into our labs and being a part of the team. Of course, that didn’t happen – the scientists have barely been in the labs for months. Still, we wanted to work together, for the benefits to our publics and team. How do you do a residency when no one is resident?

Access denied

That’s what we’re exploring now. Emily has been working from her studio to get inside what WCAIR is. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, or normal. What is has been, so far, is very different – and fascinating. Instead of Emily meeting people in their workplaces, she has had a camera straight into their homes. As we all feel the effects of months away from the routines we know, will people be open to non-routine conversations?

We’ve been looking at how to show Emily’s work off, in the absence of a gallery. We’ve decided to play with our website structure and create a new blog here. You can also find out much more on Emily’s website and her Instagram.

People gather in our gallery for the exhibition opening