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Bridging the Gap.

25/11/2013 in Affective Disorder, Art, Central Saint Martins, Collaborations, Events, MA Art & Science, Science

In reaction to interdisciplinary subjects such as art and science collaborations gaining more of a foundation in the academic community, Central Saint Martins have developed a new MA which encourages its students to integrate the creative relationships between art and science with their work. Here’s Sivan Lavie – one of the course’s latest intake – to tell us what making the transition from scientist to artist really feels like, and how her past academic experience as a scientist is fuelling her work as an artist. 

I’m a psychology graduate, from the University of Birmingham. Upon finishing high school, I wanted to read a subject that combined all my interests, in writing, creativity and scientific evidence, so I chose psychology. I had a very interesting three-year experience. But on the side, at night in my room, I would make art. It was a gradual process that spilled out of me, I didn’t really see myself as an artist until I was in my third year, yet creating was an integral part of my life, and going to see art at galleries was something I always craved. I took art at school, yet felt restricted by the silent consensus of what ‘good’ art should look like (mostly a realistic painting style) and felt very offended when a classmate said my drawings were ‘cartoon-like’.

Art school, Central Saint Martins, is the opposite of what I experienced at high school. It’s also nothing like studying psychology at Birmingham. The Art and Science MA started running in 2011, having its first graduate show in May this year. From my first day this September, I was filled with wonder, as the twenty students in the class are all from diverse backgrounds, from quantum-physics to the history of public hygiene, to anthropology. But all of them are also deeply passionate about art, which makes it such an intriguing pioneering experience. Art and Science is a relatively new field; we are stepping on fresh ground as a class, and forging links between the scientific and art worlds. Coming from different experiences, our art techniques are dissimilar, yet interconnections can be illustrated and deepened as we work together and learn about each other’s disciplines.

Coming from a class of two hundred, from which only about ten students actually cared about psychology, to a class of twenty students who are eager to learn, experience and grow, is something that inspires me, as well as being in the centre of the art world, here in London.

Holly Owen

Work by Holly Owen another student of the CSM MA

My amalgamation of art with science focuses around affective disorders, specifically depression, and its bidirectional relationship with art. Having suffered from clinical depression as well as having studied the illness to great detail at university, I believe it is thoroughly important to educate the public about the sheer force of depression and its related phenomena, to remove stigma and undervaluing of the illness. Grayson Perry said in his Reith Lecture series that art’s function as the communicator of ‘the big ideas’ has been eclipsed by the media. Personally, I think that the media educates us to a certain degree, but with mental illness, especially affective disorders, seeing art can be imperative, because art holds a truth, a strong emotive effect that speaks louder than words. Perry adds that art has the advantage of ‘seeing the real thing’, which feeds into my idea of the experiential aspect, essential for comprehending an affective experience.

A piece by Sivan

A piece by Sivan

As the year progresses and we’ve already had an interim-interim show, we hope to continue to utilise all resources we have, from fantastic workshops here at CSM (from photography-developing to silk-screen printing to metal-work), the amazing opportunity of being in a vastly creative environment with people from numerous disciplines who we can share ideas with, glean information from and collaborate, by creating links with art-science societies such as the Wellcome Trust, the GV Art gallery, and looking into our own scientific fields and finding subtle, interesting connections with art which can be further explored.

This piece was written by Sivan Lavie, for more of her work visit her website: Cargocollective.com/lavie-art