Understanding the World through Aesthetics

Wednesday 31 March 2021
11:30–1:30 pm

In partnership with Queen’s University Cultural Studies Colloquium series

A conversation between Elvira Hufschmid, Doctoral Research Fellow, Agnes; Sunny Kerr, Curator of Contemporary Art, Agnes; and Dr Erica Caden, Research Scientist at SNOLAB. This public event caps off a series of sessions with physicists focused on direct encounters with art in the interest of sharing ways of knowing across disciplines.

What impact does art have on physics? What is the potential of art and science collaborations to allow for inspiration to cross (disciplinary) boundaries? In what ways can aesthetics help to contextualize science from a multiplicity of perspectives? Throughout March, a transdisciplinary research team met online to review artworks and discuss emerging questions on art and science collaborations.

Elvira Hufschmid joins Agnes as a Doctoral Research Fellow, thanks to generous funding from the Queen’s Cultural Studies program and a MITACS Research Training Award.

Drift: Art and Dark Matter is a residency and exhibition project generated by Agnes Etherington Art Centre, the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute and SNOLAB.

Speaker Biographies

Dr Erica Caden completed her undergraduate degree in physics at The College of New Jersey and completed her PhD at Drexel University in Philadephia, PA working on the Double Chooz experiment. She moved to Sudbury, Ontario as a postdoctoral fellow at Laurentian on SNO+, and became a Research Scientist at SNOLAB in 2016. Caden works on the neutrino experiments at the lab: SNO+, HALO, and nEXO. She is passionate about science communication, expressing scientific ideas through art, and making sure there is room for everyone who wants to join the scientific community.

Sunny Kerr is a male settler of Scottish and Irish descent living and working in Katarokwi/Kingston, Ontario. As Curator of Contemporary Art at Agnes Etherington Art Centre with adjunct teaching appointments at Queen’s University, Kerr thinks with the experiences, provocations and potentials of art and the uneasy legacies of culture amid the urgencies of racist violence and climate change. He continually tries to contextualize and put his work in reciprocal dialogue with inventive artistic thinking-making. Recent curatorial work includes Drift: Art and Dark Matter and projects with artists Yam Lau, Tau Lewis, Chris Kline, Ciara Phillips, Judy Radul, Walter Scott and Ibghy and Lemmens. He explores curatorial thinking with graduate students in Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies, Department of Film and Media while pursuing a doctorate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University.

Elvira Hufschmid is a multimedia artist of German descent and a current Doctoral Research Fellow at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Her current research focuses on Aesthetic Transformation processes as a methodology for inter – and transdisciplinary collaboration and learning. In her PhD research in the Queen’s University Cultural Studies program she applies an Aesthetic Transformation strategy to investigate narratives of land enclosure as they relate to colonial property regimes of the settler society. As a collaborator in the SSHRC-funded art and science project ‘Leaning Out of Windows – Art and Physics Collaborations through Aesthetic Transformations’ and an affiliated researcher at the Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies in Arts & Sciences (BAS), Berlin University of the Arts, Germany (2017-19) she co-investigates the ways in which metaphor acts as a common code between art and science. Hufschmid holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, US, and she taught as a Visiting Artist at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, BC, as well as a Guest Professor for ‘Artistic Transformation Processes’ at the Berlin University of the Arts, Germany.

Nadia Lichtig, Blank Spots, 2021–ongoing, frottage on canvas, theatre lights, sound. Collection of the artist. Installation view from Drift: Art and Dark Matter. Photo: Tim Forbes

Nadia Lichtig, Blank Spots, 2021–ongoing, frottage on canvas, theatre lights, sound. Collection of the artist. Installation view from Drift: Art and Dark Matter.

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Image Credits

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