Science Fiction provides an overarching framework for Monster and Kynic, two exhibitions that explore notions of scientific reality and its mutations within popular consciousness and media. Science Fiction brings together Erica Seccombe and Benjamin Forster, two artists who employ bona fide scientific methodologies for work that examines the tensions between science and its suspect appearances in popular culture. Both to some extent work in the “god” zone, albeit with tongues in cheek, using science to suggest the construction of creatures that exist outside the “natural world” and thus have the potential to wreak havoc upon humanity. They draw upon the familiar, common garden organisms and the family pet to produce alien objects and ideas. Their works critique and even mock the idea of artists being scientists and vice versa; blending empirical method with fantastic imagination their work reflects a divergent yet electrifying relationship between science and art.
Taking the common garden slater Porcellio scaber as her point of departure Erica Seccombe, in collaboration with Professor Tim Senden and Dr Ajay Limaye (ANU Department of Applied Mathematics and Vizlab), applied the notion of relativity to suggest that under magnification of the most extreme kind, this benign little creature takes on alien proportions. Using the latest technologies available to science, the ANU Department of Applied Mathematics has developed 3D Microcomputed X-ray Tomography (XCT) that enables scientists to see the material structure of an object as a virtual model. Seccombe has used the resulting volumetric data and digital visualisation processes to produce an exhibition of printed three-dimensional creatures and parts thereof, that are able to inspire fear and awe in an “alien” inspired nursery. Blurring the borders of film and scientific data the exhibition also includes a 3-D cinematic screening of the amplified isopod so that it appears significantly larger than life.
Adapted from catalogue essay by David BrokerErica Seccombe Monster (Sattva), 2013, 3D data projection, installation view