LETI: Thinking Interdisciplinarily- LETI Held an Art & Science Project School


LETI held an interdisciplinary project school “Nautilus 4.0. Immersion” as part of the LETI Science Art program. The event was dedicated to BioArt, an art practice where humans work with live tissues, bacteria, living organisms, and life processes. The main focus was ecology.

The program of the school included lectures and excursions around the Botanical Garden and the design center “Lenpoligrafmash,” interdisciplinary practices, interactives, and the development of BioArt projects. During three days of immersion in the world of Art & Science, the school participants – more than 30 students and young specialists from different fields of knowledge united in interdisciplinary teams and implemented their creative ideas to solve environmental problems.

“When we conceived the school, we didn’t count on such a stir. The engagement of creative students from other universities came as a surprise to us. BioArt as the main thematic track allowed us to unite the competencies of young biologists, ecologists, engineers, and communicators to try to comprehend through technological metaphor the role and right of man to “conquer” nature, the conflict of artificial and natural.”

Larisa Sharakhina, the school organizer and head of the Department of Public Relations at LETI.

After completing a workshop on creating a concept of an art object, participants began working on technological metaphors that problematize the role of humans and the sustainability of the environment. Each of the 5 teams included an artist, an engineer, and a social communicator. Working 12-14 hours a day, they wondered how many interesting things were hidden in each of their professional areas.

The authors of one of the projects decided to answer a question about what garbage is. In the computer game they developed, a person collects a “bestiary” of trash objects with detailed information about how to reuse and recycle them. The project “The Box of Wonders” tells stories encouraging people to reflect on the problems of bioethics with the help of sound and light and work with tactile sensations. The “Little Prince” project is devoted to the problem of atmospheric pollution: for nine months, an art object in the form of an embryo made of living plants visualizes the harm of factors affecting the health of citizens in real time.

A sea container with an automatic system accounting for the type and weight of the discarded waste and an interactive screen, which with every kilogram of waste demonstrates plastic replaced by flowers – this is how the Open Cycle team decided to show people that they are not alone in their concern for nature. Project “Life+” is dedicated to biological death as a phenomenon and draws society’s attention to alternative methods of burial, suggesting thinking about choosing the most environmentally friendly options.

The teams’ projects were evaluated by an expert jury. “Hearing the other person, doing something together – it’s difficult. Projects like this give you an opportunity to learn how to do that. I urge you to make the most of it by continuing to communicate after the school, and not just with your team members. You are experts in absolutely different fields and will be able to share your ideas with each other”, summed up Irina Antonova, expert of the school, co-founder, and methodologist of the VETVi ART|SCIENCE|TECH LAB project.

After the school, the three teams that first passed the research, focus, and budgeting stages will be able to refine their projects under the supervision of LETI and experts.

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