Media Release: 29 May 2013
Sydneysiders will have the opportunity to meet two of the world’s best biomedical animators and science communicators, who will present and discuss samples of their work at the Museum of Contemporary Art this Thursday evening as part of Vivid Sydney, a festival of light, music and ideas.
The sold-out event is presented by ‘VIZBI+ Visualising the Future of Biomedicine’, a new project funded by the Inspiring Australia government initiative, Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) and CSIRO.
Equally and formidably talented, the animators come from very different backgrounds, and have developed different styles and perspectives accordingly. Dr Graham Johnson, from the University of California San Francisco, has created thousands of scientific visuals with an academic focus, and is developing software tools to help other life scientists create animations more easily. Drew Berry — winner of BAFTA and Emmy awards for his animation work — is from WEHI, and focuses on community outreach and public engagement.
Drew Berry will be discussing the history and tradition of scientific visualisation to explain the context in which he and his peers are creating materials. “I’ll then be presenting the molecular visualisations of DNA I put together in 2003 for the Emmy award winning TV series DNA,” he said.
“Then I’ll show some more contemporary visualisations – DNA for the interactive iPad textbook Life on Earth that we’re developing with Harvard’s EO Wilson.”
“I’ll finish off with some pure entertainment – the music video I did with the Icelandic singer, Björk. Her current album is called Biophilia, and it’s about the love of nature, the love of all living things. The song I was given is about her ancestry, and connecting through her DNA to her mother and her mother’s mother and so on. I created a powers-of-ten exploration of the molecular and cellular landscapes inside her body.”
Each animator will have around half an hour to present his work, and a Q&A session will follow. There will also be active audience participation, with some attendees taking part in a “Lightning Talks” section where they can briefly showcase their own work prior to the mixer networking session after the event.
Dr Kate Patterson from the Garvan Institute, herself an animator and one of the event organizers, says “we hope to engage Sydney’s creative community, expose them to new scientific concepts, and inspire them by showing just how beautiful and astonishing science can be”.