Light, Time and Collaboration Between Art and Science

June 15, 20:00 St. Petersburg | 13:00 New York

Panelists: Ulrike Kuchner, Paul Malone, Els Van Riel
Moderator: Edith Doove

Chaired by: Alexandra Dementieva

‘Light, Time and Collaboration Between Art and Science’ is the second virtual conversation held in the framework of a double exhibition SENSORIAL SKINS – WOVEN BY NATURE by AnneMarie Maes at PILAR, House for Art and Science and iMAL, Art Center for Digital Culture and Technology. 

Sensorial Skins (8-23 April 2021), the first chapter of a double exhibition by artist AnneMarie Maes, presents investigations into the sculptural potential of organic materials, transformed into fabrics, membranes and biofilms whose surfaces arouse our senses through their materiality, their texture, their colours and smells. In these sculptures and installations, the skins become interfaces between the human and the non-human, the macroscopic and the microscopic, transforming the natural into the cultural realm. 

Woven by Nature (29 April – 16 May 2021), the second chapter of a double exhibition by artist AnneMarie Maes, presents a selection of sculptures and installations about the potential of algae and bacteria. Investigating the origin of life as we know it, the works are plunging the viewer in an aquatic atmosphere where blue-green algae are cultured in handmade glass containers that grow on metal structures. Woven by Nature recalls the alchemical element of water, that, according to Greek philosopher-mathematician Thales of Miletus was believed to be the original matter out of which the world was created.


Dr. Ulrike Kuchner followed both of her passions and (simultaneously) studied Astrophysics at the University of Vienna, Austria, as well as Fine Arts/Paintings at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where she was born and raised. Today, after Masters and Ph.D. degrees have taken her to Australia, Chile, the US and Germany, she is an astronomer as well as a visual artist, currently based in the UK, where she works as a post-doctoral researcher for the University of Nottingham. In her scientific research, she studies how mass is assembled in the Universe and how galaxies form and evolve over their lifetime. As an artist she operates where art, culture, and science intersect, using both backgrounds to find or reject interdisciplinary answers to overarching questions. Her art often deals with the themes of humanity and imperfections in data, something we tend to strip away from science. She also joins the creative process of other art-scientists and science-artists as curator, mentor and researcher, and challenges the frontiers between the two cultures, translating between the fields without imposing a hierarchy.

Paul Malone has always been interested in how the physical world comes to be; how it originates and what is its relationship to consciousness. In pursuing this research he has explored many historic lost and forgotten theories of science and natural philosophy; especially so in astrophysics. Often these early theories can be repurposed with contemporary data to resolve otherwise intractable problems within the current paradigm. The artworks he creates use these concepts as source material and it is often intriguing how this process assists in the visual understanding of those phenomena. Paul is currently researching theories from the pre-Einstein era in relation to the phenomenon we call the Sun. This object is one of the most easily observed of all those in astronomy and yet it still presents some of the deepest and manifest mysteries within human understanding.

Paul studied Fine Art at Reading University for B.A. Degree in 1976 and MFA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1980. Since leaving college he has worked in studios based in the London districts of Waterloo, Greenwich and, most recently, Art in Perpetuity in Deptford. He has exhibited extensively in the U.K., U.S. and Europe and engaged in curatorial practice through international exhibition exchanges and movie projects. He also delivers lectures and workshops about the historic astrophysical researches he is currently studying.

KUCHNER and MALONE currently collaborate on the project Aleatory Whispers.

Els Van Riel lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. She studied photo- and cinematography, and worked as a photographer, editor and producer for various photo-, film-, video- and theatre productions. Her films, video’s and installations explore the impact of detailed changes in moment, movement, matter, light and perception. With links to the tradition of structural film making, her work explores the basic elements of cinema -time and light- and develops a form for new aesthetic pleasure, bypassing any symbolism and narrativity. For van Riel the projector is a central figure in the cinematographical act of giving form to a screening, performance or installation. The mechanical image source often becomes actively present as if it were a living object.


Dr. Edith Doove is a curator, writer and researcher, specifically interested in notions of emergence and contingency, cross and transdisciplinary collaborations. She started curating in 1987 in Antwerp and worked as a freelance curator and art critic in Belgium until 2010 before moving to the UK where she became a member of Transtechnology Research at Plymouth University and attained her Ph.D. in November 2017. Since 2018 she lives and works in France, currently in Rouen where she teaches at ESADHaR Le Havre-Rouen. She is a postdoctoral advisor with Transtechnology Research, a regular contributor to Leonardo Reviews, and co-convenor of Currer Bell College. With her creative consultancy BUREAU DOOVE, which she started in 2014, Doove continues to develop a unique bespoke way of collaborating, working, with, for and alongside artists and researchers.


Alexandra Dementieva is a multimedia artist, based in Brussels. The idea of interaction between the viewer and an artwork, mediated by technologically progressive visualization methods, lies at the core of her work. In her installations she uses various art forms on an equal basis: dance, music, cinema and performance. Akin to an explorer she raises questions related to social psychology and theories of perception suggesting solutions to them by contemporary artistic means, that is by taking a subjective stance behind a camera. Her installations focus on the role of the viewer and her/his interaction with an artwork and bring forth ways of provoking the viewer’s involvement thus allowing hidden mechanisms of human behavior to be revealed. 


The Leonardo/ISAST LASERs are a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public to over 52 cities around the world. The mission of LASER is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building.

In September 2020, CYLAND Media Art Lab has become the official representative of The Leonardo / LASER Talks in St. Petersburg, Russia