Science Meets Art and Art Meets People
This project was established as collaboration between Derya Zenginoglu, a multidisciplinary artist (http://www.deryazenginoglu.nl) and Pamela Habibovic, professor Inorganic Biomaterials at the Maastricht University (http://merln.maastrichtuniversity.nl/content/chair-0). The two were brought together by the Qua Art Qua Science Foundation of the University of Twente (www.qaqs.nl). The main objective of this foundation is the annual organization of a number of projects in order to explore the interface between art and science. The mutual inspiration and the way in which the two disciplines may fructify each other play a large part in this. The choice for Zenginoglu and Habibovic was made based on their work: Zenginoglu is fascinated by life, and this fascination is the staring point of her work and Habibovic’s research group develops biomaterials for regenerative medicine, materials that can regenerate diseased or damaged tissue. The first meeting between the two confirmed that both the artist and the scientist are inspired by the nature’s ability to create something new and fix what is malfunctioning. Furthemore, the Zenginoglu and Habibovic surprised each other by their respective ways of thinking about regeneration, regenerative medicine, and role people (should) have in this. A number of discussions followed, whereby Prof. Klaas de Groot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaas_de_Groot) was also involved. De Groot Habibovic’s mentor during her PhD studies, but he also has a profound interest in interface between art and science, as is witnessed by an exchange of letters he had with Eugène Brands, one of the famous members of the CoBrA group in the Netherlands (http://eugenebrands.nl/index.html).
Besides the interesting discussions Zenginoglu, Habibovic and de Groot had, visits were organized to Zenginoglu’s studio and to exhibitions of her work in art galleries in Enschede and in Amsterdam. Zenginoglu spent some time in Habibovic’s lab; she talked to her students and followed scientific experiments. All these interactions resulted in an idea for a work of art that Zenginoglu would create. Everyone agreed that this piece should be placed at Maastricht University, within the new MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine, where Habibovic will lead a research group.
For this work, Derya was mainly inspired by the interaction between the synthetic material and the living tissue, Habibovic’s main research topic. The piece will be an installation, in which different materials and techniques will be used, representing artist’s view on the interaction between the artificial material and the living tissue, aiming at restoration of a function, and on the interference from outside in this process. Besides being the artwork, this installation will also serve as a meeting place for scientists and artists, where they can exchange ideas, inspirations and standpoints. The idea is that this collaboration will be a staring point for a larger project, possibly in collaboration with the Art and Heritage Committee of the MU, in which (young) scientists and artists will be brought together, during lectures or seminars.