Surface Tension @ Science Gallery

This morning I was treated to a tour of Science Gallery's latest exhibition 'Surface Tension' - a wonderful collection of 40 brilliantly conceived art pieces which "explore the future of water, playing on its physical properties, its role in politics and economics, and ways in which it may be harnessed, cleaned, and distributed". Open to the public tomorrow, the exhibition space seems open and inviting - the (currently) gleaming white floor illuminating each element of the collection. 

The exhibits themselves are dynamic and many use motion and interactivity expertly to captivate the viewer. The exhibition also moves outside with Bit.Fall -  an artificial waterfall, designed by German artist Julius Popps, cascading drops of water in the shape of words. The words are selected from an internet link - today from the Irish Times website -  selecting words as they are most popularly used in online newsfeeds.

Other exhibition highlights include: 
  • 'Pouch' by Olivia Decaris where she proposes a new method of consuming water - inspired by the cow's udder
  • 'Urban Water Needs' - a world map made of sponge with each country's water needs expressed in terms of the water absorbed by each sponge
  • 'Event Horizon' - a whirlpool in perpetual motion inside an upturned bell jar.
  • 'Protei_002' - a prototype for a remote control sailing ship that could clean up oil spills in the future.
  • 'Bottled Waste' - a water pump that requires the same amount of energy to fill a plastic bottle as would go into producing it - approximately 3 hours of pumping per litre (an astonishing 1000 times more than a litre of tap water).

If that's not enough, visitors must dodge the remote control floating fish wandering around the exhibits. I'm sure they will help the gallery staff wile away the hours but they also make a gallery visit more interactive and colourful.

Surface Tension is Science Gallery's biggest exhibition to date and is sure to capitivate visitors of all ages. Using a simple concept - water - the exhibits blur the lines between art, science, society, politics and economics. This, I feel, has always been Science Gallery's greatest strength. Dull syllabi & textbooks often remove the wonder that exists in the world of science and places like Science Gallery bring it back to life. Speaking today to Michael John Gorman, Science Gallery's Director & Curator of Surface Tension, he sees Science Gallery's role in secondary education as revealing science to be dynamic, evolving and multidisciplinary field. He believes that subjects need not exist in isolation but can intertwine and inspire each other. At Science Gallery, art and science definitely collide but so too society, politics and economics!

Surface Tension opens to the public from tomorrow and runs until January 20th 2012. Check out Science Gallery's wonderful website for details of up-coming events and workshops which will complement the exhibition, including a once off performance by artist Mary Coble who will filter and tell the stories of water samples collect from all over the Dublin area.

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