In the period 17—31 July 2023, museum visitors can view the works of students from the National Academy of Art, Sofia (NAA), created under the mentorship of academic supervisors with the Bulgarian Academy of Science (BAS). The four installations are the result of the first-of-its-kind scientific-creative #artscience residency at BAS promoting collaboration between researchers in the field of natural sciences and students from the Digital Arts master’s program of the NAA led by Prof. Venelin Shurelov.
The innovative art installations give visitors the opportunity in an attractive and accessible way to touch upon the research work of scientists from the National Museum of Natural History, Sofia (NMNHS) and the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research — BAS (IBER-BAS).
“Shells” video installation poses the question of the man’s negative impact on one of the most endangered reptiles in Bulgaria — the land turtles. In her project, under the scientific mentorship of Chief Assist. Dr Emiliya Vacheva, IBER-BAS, the visual artist Ralitsa Georgieva uses a photographed and fragmented human image and superimposes it on a mosaic of metal sheets assembled in the form of a turtle’s shell. The installation is displayed in Leventis Hall on the first floor of the museum.
In his work “Amassed Time” the visual artist Luba Maznova, under the scientific mentorship of Vladimir Nikolov, NMNHS invites the audience to cast a curious look into the depths of the Earth’s history and challenge them to think about the place of each one of us, here and today, as well as to consider the trace we leave behind. To achieve this, the author uses the web-based artwork library p5.js, with the help of which she creates an ever-evolving visualization of geological processes and tectonic cycles. “Amassed Time” is exhibited in Palaeontology Hall on museum’s second floor.
In Birds Hall on the second floor of the museum, “Invisible Connections” project presents the correlation between man and nature. By means of sensor-activated sound systems, the visual artist Ioana-Sofia Vangelova, under the scientific mentorship of Assist. Assen Ignatov, NMNHS, “breathes life into” the exhibited preparations of birds, which represent Bulgaria’s biodiversity.
“eco.exe” installation by the visual artist Tanya Nedelchev, under the scientific mentorship of Dr Salza Palpurina, NMNHS, offers an artistic reading of the symbiosis between plants and fungi, following their development and interactions within a seemingly limited space, which constitutes a small ecosystem. The author uses a digital media mix — design animation and biological materials that scientists gather in the field. The installation is exhibited in the foyer on the fourth floor.
Two of the installations “Invisible Connections” and “eco.exe” will become part of the museum’s permanent exhibition.
#artscience: Scientific and Creative Residency at the Museum is organised by NMNHS, in partnership with IBER-BAS, NAA, DA LAB Foundation and Bulgarian Science magazine. The project aims to encourage exchange of ideas and collaborations between the research units of science and art by way of rotation visits between the two BAS institutes and the NAA.
The project is led by Nora Karalambeva, coordinator exhibitions and events at NMNHS and it has been made possible with the support of the Culture magazine, Cultural and Educational Projects, Active Audiences 2023 division.
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