Samantha Moore shares her experience of visiting Dr Serge Mostowy’s lab in the development of Loop.
What has been your experience of working on art & science projects or working with scientists previously?
I have had two Wellcome Trust arts awards previously (2005, 2007) during which I worked with Dr Jamie Ward (reader in psychology, University of Sussex) who is a researcher into synaesthesia. I am also completing a PhD study where I worked with researchers Dr Viva Goller (University of Sussex) and Dr Ashok Jansari (University of East London).
How are you choosing to respond to your scientific collaborator’s research? What methods are you using to make sense of the science?
Initially I read the papers that Dr Serge Mostowy had written on this topic, and we had an email correspondence where I asked lots of questions as I digested the material and its outcomes/applications. Serge was extremely helpful in answering and gave me lots of detail plus links to some film clips of his work.
Next I did my own visual research and some sketchbook work before going to visit Serge’s lab and seeing the research first hand. He showed me the lab and introduced me to the other members and saw the tank rooms where the zebrafish are bred. We arranged a second follow up visit (now complete) with some specific aims in mind: interviewing lab members, doing some drawings of the development of the zebrafish larvae, recording sound and getting the lab members to draw some visualisation of the septin caging process. We achieved all of these except the atmos sound recording.
How did you first approach responding to the brief with Dr Mostowy? And how have you found the process of working with him so far?
I approached the brief with as open a mind as I could, attempting in the first instance just to collect and absorb as much information as possible, using my sketchbook and audio recorder to collect ideas for images, notes and informal conversations. Serge and I had a good rapport from the start and working together has been stimulating and interesting.
What were your expectations when you were first invited to be part of the project? Have your expectations changed at all during the development process?
In as much as I expected anything it was to be challenged, interested, confused and taken out of my comfort zone. So far, it’s all happened…
I’ve been really impressed with how enthusiastically and generously I have been welcomed into the working lab, and how much time and effort has been put into making sure I get what I need from each visit.
What has been the most interesting science fact you’ve discovered so far?
Too many to choose … but I’ve been fascinated with the different approaches and interpretations that each scientist (in the same lab) has taken of the same material which I wasn’t expecting, as evidenced by their differing visual descriptions of the same process. I suppose what surprised me was the mutability of ‘facts’.