Dr Serge Mostowy

We asked Dr Serge Mostowy about the collaborative process of developing Loop with artist Samantha Moore.

What inspired you to respond to the call out for this project? Have you had experience of working with artists on art & science projects previously?

I am very impressed with the wealth of opportunity to advance science in London. I am funded by the Wellcome Trust, and when I received this call from Animate Projects via the Wellcome Trust, I felt confident this was a unique opportunity to contribute something differently.

I have had no prior experience. Abigail and Bentley have helped to explain what my role can be, and have highlighted the potential of working on art & science projects.

Has working with an artist and explaining your research to them affected your approach to or perceptions of your practice in any way?

Yes. Samantha and her outside view have unlocked different perspectives of our science, questioning fundamentals we would not normally challenge. For our science to be represented by art helps us to visualise the processes we are studying, and enables common perception to emerge.

Members of my laboratory have fully enjoyed Samantha’s visits, highlighting how their different projects can synergise. Samantha has helped to foster an atmosphere that in our laboratory we have real potential to contribute broadly and differently.

How are you deciding as part of the collaborative process which area of research to focus on?

The collaborative process has been fluid and iterative. From reading the available literature, Samantha was very clear with her original vision for the project. From visits to the laboratory, she has incorporated details and ideas from real data and discussions with different members of the laboratory.

I am thrilled with Samantha’s interest in the process of septin assembly. This has been very difficult for the field to advance, and these fundamentals are crucial for understanding septin function. Samantha has fully embraced it!

Could you tell us more about the specific elements of the science that will be covered in the project?

Samantha had original ideas that could be refined upon visits to the laboratory. The most influential outcome of this project may be the careful depiction of septin assembly (monomer to complex to filament to ring to cage). For Samantha to capture the process of septin assembly as it ‘loops’ inside cells and zebrafish is very exciting.

What were your expectations when you first started discussing your work with the artist? Have your expectations changed at all during the development process?

I was first uncertain regarding my precise role in this adventure. However, expectations were maximised upon my first interactions with Samantha. Her talent is obvious. I am fully happy to trust Samantha and her creative control, and to contribute facts and science to her vision.

December 2013

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