[Humanist] 31.162 events: biological hermeneutics

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Jul 6 07:29:36 CEST 2017

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 162.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2017 11:30:32 +0000
        From: Charlotte Sleigh <C.L.Sleigh at KENT.AC.UK>
        Subject: Biological Hermeneutics: Art & Science show 28/7/17

Historians and communicators of science are warmly invited to the private view of Biological Hermeneutics.  If you would like to come, please RSVP here: https://biologicalhermeneutics.eventbrite.com.

About the show

Artist Sarah Craske, in collaboration with Prof Charlotte Sleigh and Dr Simon Park, presents Biological Hermeneutics, an exhibition based on a 300-year-old copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses, discovering and making visible the microbial life that has silently accrued through the centuries upon its pages.
Craske's work challenges the relationship between science and art, and highlights the deep materiality of texts that can be lost in the rush to digitisation.

Going beyond one specific book, the show is a speculative presentation of Biological Hermeneutics as an established and respected transdiscipline, within the historic walls of Chetham's Library.

"Biological Hermeneutics is a branch of knowledge that develops the concept of books as centres of microbial data & data transfer by discovering, identifying and re-presenting the biological information contained by the physical page. Through artistic, historical & scientific enquiry, Biological Hermeneutic scholars believe that we should move from the traditional practice of collection & taxonomy of the physical archive & propose a new system of knowledge & understanding." Sarah Craske, 2017

The establishment of the transdiscipline manifests itself in various artistic forms: signage of the exhibition; a visitor leaflet; a Wikipedia page; curated temporary displays within Chetham's collections; a Biological Hermeneutic department temporarily installed on site; and an exhibition of The Metamorphoses Chapter, a complete retranslation of Book 3 into its microbial landscape.

Artist's biography

Sarah Craske has been developing the concept of transdisciplinarity through art and science collaboration since 2014. She set up a research team that included Prof Charlotte Sleigh, a historian of science at the University of Kent and Dr Simon Park, a microbiologist at the University of Surrey. Their research was subsequently funded by the AHRC.

In 2016, a showing from Biological Hermeneutics at Central St Martins was awarded the Mullen Lowe Nova Award that "recognises the next creative stars of the future by recognising and celebrating the innovators and risk takers."

Chetham's Library

Chetham's Library in Manchester is the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom and is housed in a medieval college building dating from 1421. The library was founded by Humphrey Chetham in 1653 and holds more than 100,000 volumes of printed books, of which 60,000 were published before 1851. Its collections are of national importance.

Chetham's is usually closed to the public at the weekends, but will be opening on Saturdays for the duration of the exhibition.


The exhibition continues until August 26th, 2017. For the duration of the exhibition, Chetham's will be open Monday-Friday, from 9.30-12.30 and 1.30-4.30; and on Saturdays from 11.00 - 4.00. Tours of the library will also be available; see http://www.jonathanschofieldtours.com/exclusive-chethams-library-and-college-house.html for details.

Charlotte Sleigh
Professor of Science Humanities
University of Kent

A: School of History | Rutherford College | University of Kent | Canterbury CT2 7NX | UK
E: c.l.sleigh at kent.ac.uk
Tw: @KentCHOTS
Bl: http://blogs.kent.ac.uk/sciencecomma/
W: http://www.kent.ac.uk/history/staff/profiles/sleigh.html

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