Art Science Residency 2015 at ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay SandsArt Science Residency 2015 at ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands

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ArtScience Museum is the proud partner of the 2015 Art/Science Residency Programme, which is hosted by the IDMI Arts and Creativity Lab and Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore.

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  • Artist
  • Interview with TeZ
Italian interdisciplinary artist, Maurizio Martinucci (TeZ)

Maurizio Martinucci

This year, we are delighted to invite Italian interdisciplinary artist, Maurizio Martinucci (TeZ) to Singapore from February - May, who will use the four-month long residency to begin his two-year project Bioluminescent Drifter Swarms. The project, ideated and developed in collaboration with TeZ’s fellow American scientist David Fries, will result in the creation of extraordinary aquatic creatures, with capabilities for orchestrated choreographies of sound and light, enhancing scenic and collecting science data simultaneously. More information will be added here as the project progresses.
You can enjoy another of TeZ’s project, PV868, at ArtScience Late on Thursday, 7 May 2015.

We interviewed TeZ about his residency and project, his inspirations, and the value of using art and science together. For more details, please refer to the Interview with TeZ tab.

Can you briefly summarize the project you are working on during your residency?
The main project consists in the design of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs)s that can perform scientific operations in marine or other aquatic environments, as well as orchestrated choreographies of sound and light when they emerge to the surface. The sequences of sonic and luminous signals will form some kind of meta-language for communicating the findings of the underwater analysis while offering an aesthetic form of expression. This project has the working title "BDS", Bioluminescent Drifter Swarms. It's in fact a two years endeavor that begins here in Singapore and will continue in Florida and Holland.
Other satellite art/science projects, mostly dealing with ecology and sustainability, will be conducted together with students at NUS and other groups of urban farmers, geeks, hackers and citizen scientists in Singapore. One of these projects is investigating the effect of pulsed electric signals to the soil in order to improve the growth and health of seeds and plants.
Another project will look at the possibility of stimulating bioluminescence in plankton through ultra-directional ultrasonic pulses, like natural laser beams in water.
What inspired your work for your residency?
I really wanted to develop one or more art projects underwater. I'm a scuba diver and have always been fascinated by the incredible life of the marine environment. I then met David Fries, a scientist at the University of South Florida, who shares a great passion for art too, and he's a great expert on AUVs.
David is my partner in the BDS project. We brainstormed the idea of designing nature-mimicking underwater drones that would simulate bioluminescence in the water. While most people look up in the sky for drones, and land robotics is also well developed, not many people are thinking and looking yet at the immense range of applications that underwater vehicles can offer. A notable exception to this is Singapore, however, where the international event SAUVC (Singapore Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Challenge) is organized every year.
How do Singapore and the ArtScience museum specifically lend themselves to the success of your residency?
With SAUVC, Singapore is among the only 3 countries in the world that is promoting this technology and applications as an international and public endeavor, beyond the military or other exclusive domains. Singapore is definitely a fertile ground for advanced technological applications and seems to occupy a specific position when it comes to devising strategies for sustainability and urban development.
Similarly, ArtScience Museum is excellent in showing the general public how interdisciplinary education is pivotal for embracing new paradigms that keep up with the current pace of changes in all human activities. I really can't think of a better example for this than the ongoing Da Vinci show. I am honored to have been chosen to represent this emerging strand of hybrid art-science practitioners at such a prestigious venue.
How do you see art and science being related in your work?
This question alone would take too many pages to be exhaustive! However, I always remark that there's no real difference between art and science when seen and practiced under a holistic paradigm that seeks to unite the disciplines rather than attempts to bridge them.
I like that the ArtScience museum doesn't really separate the words in its name! That is crucial and it’s the best way to reach the public subconscious, overriding the conventional notions of separated and specialised disciplines.
In my work I came up with the definition of "Spectral Sensorium" that aims at encompassing the diversity of modal phenomena and the mechanisms of perceptions that render these phenomena to our consciousness. My work thus explores "all that vibrates" and seeks for more or less conventional ways to present acoustic, optic, electric, magnetic, chemical and mechanical waves to the "seat of sensations" (sensorium) of human beings. I see it more like open-ended interdisciplinary research rather than a strategy for artistic creation. The artwork will naturally emerge from the often unexpected allure of the experiments.
What do you hope to achieve at the end of your residency?
I'm hoping to create at least the first practical design of the BDS, and maybe experiment with some of the existing vehicles by Acoustic Research Lab at NUS where we'd like to install some novel optical sensors/actuators by David that will function for both spectrometry and light/video projection. That's the core technology that will perform both the art and the science!
Also I'm working hard on the electroculture side and hoping to run parallel experiments at different locations that will show the potentially beneficial effects of electricity on plants, utilizing natural sources of energy (solar, water and atmospheric). I will document these experiments in pictures and videos too.
The bioluminescent plankton beams is also in the scope of this residency and, when working, could be on display in a tank.
What do you hope people can learn from the results of your residency?
People will learn about the new wave of underwater drones and their potential use for good. They will also learn about invisible phenomena that promote growth and health in the green world. Perhaps they'll also learn that light can be produced chemically and naturally, and that it's the most common means of communication underwater.
I hope people will just be fascinated by the "unexpected". If one person in every hundred becomes curious and keeps looking at the open questions of my experiments I would consider the residency a success!