Bio-Theatre: Bringing Art Design into Hypothesis-Driven Research

At the end of 2017, the NICE Lab embarked on an exciting new collaboration with the Srishti School of Design.  Our goal was not just simply to convey science through art, but to use design theory to stimulate new hypotheses about object identification that would subsequently be tested in our field and laboratory experiments. Through a series of interactions, the NICE Lab members and students working with Thomas Pausz generated a number of ideas and concepts concerning how insects identify objects.  This was subsequently exhibited as a “Bio-Theatre” exhibit.   A movie describing the collaboration can be seen here.

Through a series of projects examining aspects of shape, color, and the ecology of pollinators (specifically hoverflies), the artists deconstructed and reconstructed concepts of flowers as perceived by an insect.  This remarkable venture has already provided our laboratory with many hypotheses regarding pollinator preferences for flowers that we are currently testing using 3-D printing technology, particularly concerning changes in form and color, and even fractals!.

The NICE Lab hopes that this is just the beginning of a beautiful exchange where scientists and artists come together to ask important questions about our world.   Please check out some of the amazing ideas created below, with links to the project descriptions.  An overview is here:

  One thought on “Bio-Theatre: Bringing Art Design into Hypothesis-Driven Research

  1. February 19, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    research should not be diluted by artistic marketing,research has more depth than silly marketing.


    • February 19, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      While research should not be diluted by marketing, communicating science to the general public using art is essential for the future of science itself. However, in this case the goal was not science communication but rather how art design concepts on object identification could be used to generate testable hypotheses for our research. It was art for science, and not just science for art.


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