Art and science are ways that we try to explain our place in the world and tackle unanswered questions. While they may seem to represent unrelated approaches to our understanding, they overlap in important ways that present opportunities to enhance both. Whether through paint brushes or petri dishes, the creativity, conceptualization, and discovery inherent to both art and science place them surprisingly close on the continuum of efforts to make sense of our world. Broad's artist-in-residence program allows leading scientists and forward-thinking artists to work, communicate, and learn together to benefit both science and art, spurring the creative thinking that drives innovation.
Mapping and Connectivity: Works by Nathalie Miebach and Yu-Wen Wu
April 25 - June 24, 2022
An exhibit in the Stanley Building lobby, and Second Floor Connector.
For centuries, we have used maps to chart the world — from the body to the stars and everything in between. Both foreign and familiar, we can both lose and find ourselves. Mapping is a way of using spatial reasoning. Many contemporary artists use maps to inform their work: Google maps, imaginary maps, mind maps, genome mapping, historical maps, and especially data visualization. The results are often reflective and personal. How do we discover the way to each other and back to ourselves?
We have become accustomed to reading maps, which show us the many changes and problems in our country and around the world: climate change, weather tracking, voting districts, COVID illnesses and deaths. Nathalie Miebach and Yu-Wen Wu reveal, translate, and manifest data and its intrepretation in their work. This narrative impulse pervades their respective practices, as they seek to understand the world for themselves and to inspire us to see a way forward.
About the Artists
Nathalie Miebach explores the intersection of art and science by translating scientific data related to meteorology, ecology, and oceanography into woven sculptures and musical scores/ performances. Her main method of data translation is basket weaving, which functions as a simple, tactile grid through which to interpret data into 3D space. Central to this work is her desire to explore the role that visual and musical aesthetics play in the translation and understanding of complex scientific systems, such as weather. Since March 2020, Miebach has been focusing on the integration of COVID-19 data into her translation work with weather data. The purpose of these 2D weavings, which are entirely made up of data, is to both document this extraordinary period of human history we are going through, while also commenting on how the abundance of scientific data can facilitate or complicate our sense of resilience during the face of these global threats.
Yu-Wen Wu is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Boston. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Wu’s subjectivity as an immigrant is central to her artwork. Arriving in the United States at an early age, her experiences have shaped her work in areas of migration—examining issues of displacement, arrival, assimilation, and the shape of identity in a new country. At the crossroads of art, science, politics, and social issues, her wide range of projects include large-scale drawings, site-specific video installations, community-engaged practices, and public art. Wu’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in several private and public collections.