Despite awaiting an uncontested scientific explanation, the theory that gravity exists is widely accepted. So, why are paranormal experiences and philosophical beliefs frequently disregarded? The new exhibition No Such Thing As Gravity at FACT will examine areas of science where the absence of established facts leave room for new theories and alternative science. By including thought-provoking themes such as existence and identity, philosophy and psychology, and physics and chemistry, the exhibition aims to challenge concrete beliefs; questioning if certain scientific theories may require reconsideration.
Mysteries surrounding scientific possibilities have equated to the development of widespread fascinations. These include paranormal experiences, irrational beliefs and conspiracy theories. Although many perceive these ideologies to be illogical, No Such Thing As Gravity will exhibit work highlighting how scientific research remains investigative of these uncertainties, which have not yet been proven nor disproven.
A particular phenomena that will feature is the interaction between the living and the dead. The GHost Formula (2016) by Sarah Sparkes exemplifies spiritual portrayal through the use of visual media. Sparkes’ work includes a robotic representation of a ghost, and an invitation for visitors to experience her ‘infinity portals’. These insights will leave viewers reflecting upon the potentials of this discipline, even if initially skeptical. Tying into this theme, Helen Pynor’s new research project The End Is A Distant Memory (2016) identifies the extension of life after death. Rather than showcasing a philosophical perspective, her use of microscopic footage features life at a cellular level to represent the physicalities of an organism. As a result, speculations about reincarnation and whether something truly expires will spark. The exploration of cells is also exhibited through the work of Gina Czarnecki and John Hunt. Heirloom (2016) combines philosophy with biology by examining how living growth cells contribute to identity and youth. Speculators will contemplate the extent of control they have over their identity formation, and how much is owed to natural science.
Ambiguities regarding consciousness, pseudoscience and science will also feature. In particular, Yin-Ju Chen builds on themes of mysticism and astrology in Action At A Distance (2015). Through her use of videography, the macrocosm-microcosm interrelationship is portrayed through examining the principle of correspondence. This belief, that realistic experiences mirror our inner body, poses uncertainties regarding conscious thought. More specifically, Chen’s observation of quantum entanglement identifies the human life and universe correspondence, and physical science and pseudoscience correspondence. Such observations cause questioning of universal entities, including the consciousness of the solar system itself.
Differently to focusing on biological and philosophical disciplines, No Such Thing As Gravity will also present work evaluating the laws of physics. An arguably distinctive project included is the Water Gas Car (2013-Present) by Nick Laessing. By making possible an unimaginable creation, Laessing contradicts the law of energy. His attempt to run a VW Golf on water gas alone proved successful; challenging widespread understandings of what energy is and what it is used for. Furthermore, Laessing’s piece creates hopeful envisions for eco-friendly interventions; an increasingly popular phenomenon.
Curated by Rob La Frenais who has presented the art and science interaction for the past seventeen years, No Such Thing As Gravity will highlight the complexities behind multiple scientific disciplines and doubt imbedded scientific beliefs. Whether a science fanatic or not, this exhibition will hold the attention of viewers; making them contemplative of the displayed representations, even after they have left.
No Such Thing As Gravity opens at FACT from 11 November 2016 until 5 February 2017.
The preview of the exhibition on 10 November coincides with the FACT and Arts at CERN event Day of Collisions, which will offer a range of activities investigating the relationship between art and science.