‘Space to Breathe’ Exhibition at Somerset House 

This two day workshop/exhibition at Somerset House was held by ‘Science and Environment’ students, in an attempt to creatively inform the public on the issue of air pollution in both installation and text, whilst also discussing sustainability. Their aim was demonstrate how there are alternative ways to counteract the negative impacts of air pollution. They were able to get in touch with their creative instincts to produce an educational but also beautiful experience.

The first piece we encountered was 3D printed. This creation by Dave Farnham describes a woman’s recovery from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This was to show the fragility of lungs.

There was was a strange mask attached to a natural oxygen tank (image below). Chih Chiu made the intriguing contraption in response to air pollution. Referencing diving equipment, this backpack demonstrates a potential dystopian need to wear a mask to purify, maybe symbolising a future portable accessory?

Wesley Goatley’s work Breathing Mephitic Air (image below) consisted of suspended plastic sheets project with images from all sides. A fan created ripples in the material, giving life to the once static image, showcasing how the data of air pollution can be collected into an interactive composition. The volume the sound were in correlation to the image and the amount of pollution in that location. This meant when immersing ourselves in the room the complex adjustments to our senses pulled us out of reality and submerged us into a hypnotic state.

Overall this interactive exhibition shows the success of blending art and science. They primarily use workshops to attract the individual by inspiring and motivating the public to critically think about potential change. This could be a productive way of combining the two fields in our own collaborative practice. It seems that involving the public in something that they can relate to and understand can make the underlying complexity of science more accessible.

Different Perpective of the Wellcome Collection, Making Nature: How we see animals

This exhibition, held at the Wellcome collection, explores our relationship with nature; what we think, feel and value about other species and the consequences this has for the world around us.

It brings together over 100 fascinating objects from literature, film, taxidermy, and photography to reveal the hierarchies in our view of the natural world and consider how these influence our actions, or inactions, towards the planet.

The exhibition exposes humans to creating and forcing a ‘natural order’ onto the planet which has consequently disrupted the biodiversity of the earth. This imposed hierarchy is echoed through the arrangement of the pieces. “The Linnaean classification system is a human construct imposed on the natural world. Still in use today, this system affects the value we place on particular animals…’. ‘Other ways of organising nature have been proposed by artists, writers and scientists. Their works challenge the fixed position of each species in the “great chain of being” and expose its arbitrary divisions.” It reveals an urge to master the ‘order’ of nature and in some way make sense of it.  – The Guardian

The exhibition highlights the idea that human beings are not visible in places such as the Natural History Museum when we actually had a very large impact on the species featured and therefore want to show how destructive we are to the world. “If we edit ourselves out of these collections we’re also editing out our influence and our impact,” says Richard Pell, curator of postnatural organisms at the Centre for Postnatural History in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Humans have manipulated and altered the genetics of dogs, cats, rats and mice for years and are finally being uncovered through this collection.

“We have a collection of genetically modified mice, for example. One of them was altered to be obese, one was altered to be bald, we have a rat that was altered to be alcoholic. These are all very culturally-specific concerns.” The fact we’re changing the world around us is an essential part of post-natural history. But, Pell admits, it’s also quite visually dull. “We don’t dress them up, we don’t put a lot of spectacle around them. But we do try to tell meaningful stories,” he says.

At first, I was shocked and horrified at the image of seeing a dead fox curled up under a display, and being face to face with a beheaded animal. Looking back, it still disgusts me which was probably the curators intent, they wanted to show the viewers how horrific and cruel our relationship really is with animals. As a vegan I do not agree with the statement of ‘natural order’ and ‘food pyramid’, I believe that we are an ecosystem that feeds off each other; we need one another to survive, to keep the planet moving. Forcing the idea of hierarchy upon us gives humans an excuse to use animals at our disposal. This is not a relationship with animals, but exploitation. This theme challenges adds another dimension to the topic of natural history.

“It’s another way of encouraging us to take a step back and to think about what we see. Not to take things at face value,” says Honor Beddard, curator of Making Nature, who worked with Pell on sourcing new objects for the London exhibition. “We have a very contradictory relationship with other animals. We get up in the morning, we have our scrambled eggs, we put on our leather jacket, we take our dog for a walk. It’s all quite intermixed and fraught.”

We live in a world of speciesism; we love one animal yet kill and consume another.


The Guardian


Wellcome collection

Wellcome Collection

The Wellcome Collection is an exciting place to visit, not just for the visual aspect but also for the exploration of interactive learning. We recently visited Making Nature: How we see Animals, this exhibition is meant to question how we depict nature and how our actions have had an impact on our natural environments. The concept behind the exhibition was more powerful than the work; the exhibition was split into four categories – Ordering, Displaying, Observing and Making. The seriousness of the concept was diminished because of how the curator mocked the historical documentation of science. In doing so, the body of work on display evoked a comedic response that diverted the attention from the original concept.

The exhibition included the use of  literature, film, taxidermy and photography; combining urban environments with the formal categorisation of specimens. The dystopian setting in which the works are places brought to mind how, as a race, we have stripped animals down to become objects for entertainment, rather then questioning the notion of how our actions have consequences on the natural world.

Image result for Making Nature: How we see animals#

Image result for Making Nature: How we see animals#

Image result for Making Nature: How we see animals#


The Gordon Museum

Though there are some who would dispute this claim, The Gorden Museum is unique. It is necessary for doctors and artists alike in regards to research and teaching. This museum, dedicated purely to human specimens, respectfully showcases the outcomes of various diseases, extinct and otherwise.


At first it was daunting and unsettling, looking at all these jarred specimens, as they provided a detailed and unrestricted view of parts that are better left inside the body. Yet the more time I spent here, the more interesting this museum became as the 360 degree view along with the lectures by Eleanor Crook brought to life things that I had only read about in books. The jars in the end created the perfect barrier between reality and sculpture, unlike the dissection room, allowing me to instead focus and draw without being too queasy. When the end came I stopped thinking about them as cancerous lungs or the kidneys. The only daunting detail of these few trips was the personal promise from the museum’s caretaker, that you would replace any part if you destroyed it.

Eleanor Crook


Just to put into perspective the tutor of this course

Here is her website if anyone is interested…