Art and science come together for the perfect 'Storm'

Video still depicting a woman on a hill side with a canvas on an easel in front of her.
Gabriella Hirst, 'Force Majeure', 2015 video still, 15-minute single-channel colour video stereo sound. Courtesy of the artist.

Leading artists and scientists will examine storms scientifically, artistically and metaphorically as part of a public exhibition on how art and science can combine to communicate and solve problems.

Storm includes a two-week exhibition of artworks inspired by the wind, rain and snow, culminating in a symposium to discuss the Indigenous, meteorological, medical, historical, visual and musical significance of storms.

Director of the Lung Health Research Centre in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and contributing artist Gary Anderson said the collaboration was sparked by the thunderstorm asthma emergency in 2016.

“We have used part of this project to examine storm asthma and how medicine and art can work together to raise public awareness, prevent fatalities and open up creative and unorthodox approaches,” Professor Anderson said.

“Creativity is as essential to the scientific process as artistic method and an interdisciplinary approach opens up new ways of examining and understanding the world around us.”

Victorian College of the Arts in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music Director and project lead Jon Cattapan said the Storm exhibition and symposium are part of a University of Melbourne initiative to engage the public in the research of both scientists and artists, following a global trend among cultural, scientific and educational institutions to optimise such collaborations.

“This collaboration marks a meaningful research partnership between the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Science at the University of Melbourne, and allows our two faculties to address the pressing challenges of our times in unique and innovative ways while contributing to the wellbeing and cultural life of Melbourne. Something that can only be achieved when art and science comes together,” said Professor Cattapan.

Storm: Colliding Art and Biomedicine is a free symposium at Federation Hall, University of Melbourne Southbank Campus, from 9.45am – 4.45pm on Saturday, 21 July.  Speakers include Professor Maria LangtonDr Sophie KnezicDr David ChesworthDr Drew BerryProfessor Jo Douglass and Nate Byrne.  Bookings are required.

The Storm Exhibition has been curated by David Sequeira, includes works by Gabriella Hirstand Cameron Robbins and is open Thursday to Sunday from 12-5pm until 22 July at Domain House, Royal Botanic Gardens with a keynote presentation being delivered by the Director of the Science Gallery Melbourne Rose Hiscock at 5.30pm on Friday, 20 July.