Exploring science through art

Sculptor Simeon Nelson and composer Rob Godman at the University’s School of Creative Arts use large-scale sculpture, video and spatial sound performance to offer new insights into pattern, perception, and systemic connections between art and science. Their public artworks – notably Plenum (2010-12), Anarchy in the Organism (2012-14) and Cosmoscope (2015-18) – have reached audiences of over 1.46 million, through exhibitions, public artworks, lumières, performances, publications, lectures and community outreach.

The works have inspired audiences to think about scientific concepts, encouraging a greater understanding of our place in the world.

Anarchy in the Organism was a public artwork installed at the UCLH Macmillan Cancer Centre, London. It aimed to challenge attitudes to cancer; by situating it within a wider context of complex evolving systems from cities to trees to landscapes, the work attempts to reconcile cancer as an inherent feature of being in the world. Godman later created a scored algorithmic concert-hall version for Eb Clarinet, responsive electronics and video (a collaboration with Dr Kate Romano and the Goldfield Ensemble). This migration from public art to concert hall introduced the research to a second, distinct audience thus increasing and diversifying its reach.

Cosmoscope, a monumental sound and light sculpture, depicts the universe from the atomic scale to the cosmic. Inspired by historical astronomical instruments and models of the cosmos, the sculpture invites spectators to contemplate their place in the universe. Cosmoscope premiered at the Lumiere Durham in 2017, before moving Lumiere London in 2018. It was subsequently installed at the Watts Gallery as part of their Moonscapes exhibition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landings.


Further reading