From Galileo to Mars: Renaissance of the ArtSciences
Symposium / Exhibition
November 12, 2016 - Florence, Italy
Odeon Theater - Piazza Strozzi
SACI - Palazzo dei Cartelloni - Via Sant'Antonino 11
On Saturday, November 12, SACI Studio Arts College International hosted the symposium From Galileo to Mars – Renaissance of the ArtSciences, a day dedicated to the developments in the relationship between arts and sciences, analyzed by distinguished guests such as the Deputy Administrator of NASA Dava Newman, NASA astronaut, engineer and artist Nicole Stott, Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, architect and designer Guillermo Trotti, CEO of Dainese D-air Lab Vittorio Cafaggi, and artist and professor Lia Halloran.
The symposium was conceived and moderated by SACI President, Steve Brittan. More than 275 artists, designers, educators, scientists and others from Florence and beyond came to learn how artists and scientists can collaborate to make bold new discoveries.
The first part of the event, which was supported by the City of Florence, the Region of Tuscany, the US Consulate General Florence, and Dainese, was held at the Cinema Odeon at 9 am with greetings from the President of Florence’s Cultural Commission Maria Federica Giuliani on behalf of Florence Mayor Dario Nardella, Tuscan Regional Commissioner Stefano Ciuoffo and the U.S. Consul General in Florence Abigail M. Rupp, followed by presentations by world renowned scientists, artists, and designers, moderated by SACI President Steven Brittan.
Beginning with NASA’s mission to Mars, creative minds compared notes at the symposium on the potential for multidisciplinary collaboration and innovation, which has received international attention thanks to initiatives such as ARTS AT CERN, a program promoting the dialogue between artists and particle physics at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva.
Until recently, space exploration was limited to sectors such as science, technology, mathematics, and engineering. Lately, it has become evident that artists and designers can play a primary role in new discoveries and technological development of objects for space missions, including space ships or spacesuits for astronauts.
Architect and designer Guillermo Trotti has collaborated with NASA in the design of lunar bases and vehicles, spacesuits suitable for exploration of the moon and Mars, and vehicles for missions to Mars and International Space Stations.
Lia Halloran’s artwork often engages with scientific concepts. Her series of cyanotype prints, Your Body is a Space That Sees, which celebrates the discoveries of female scientists and researchers in the field of astronomy, allows the observer to embark on a never-ending journey through nebula, craters, galaxies, and comets, as does her series of paintings, The Only Way Out Is Through, based on the monumental selenite crystals discovered in Cueva de los Cristales in Naica, Mexico.
Ex-astronaut Nicole Stott creates artwork inspired by her travels in the cosmos so that she can share the spectacular beauty she witnessed through the windows of the Space Shuttle and promote projects realized in space that will benefit life on our planet.
The Italian company Dainese, a pioneer in personal-safety apparel for motorcyclists, displayed the spacesuits, created in collaboration with MIT and NASA, which are designed to provide the necessary pressurization of the body without the added bulk and subsequent lack of mobility common in current spacesuits.
At 3:30 pm, symposium guests visited Palazzo dei Cartelloni, SACI’s main building and the former home of mathematician Vincenzo Viviani, who decorated the façade with inscriptions in Latin to commemorate his mentor, Galileo Galilei. Guests viewed artwork documentation by Lia Halloran from the series Your Body is a Space That Sees, a tribute to women in astronomy which draws from narrative, imagery, and historical accounts of Hypatia of Alexandria, Caroline Herschel, Helen Sawyer Hogg, and a group of women at Harvard in the late 1800’s known as “Pickering’s Harem” or the “Harvard Computers.” Artwork and installations by SACI students were also exhibited.
Prior to the symposium From Galileo to Mars – Renaissance of the ArtSciences, artists and creative persons were invited to participate in a special Instagram contest with works that represent the connection between art and science. The works with the hashtag #FromGalileotoMars and a brief caption that best represent the spirit of the initiative were selected to be screened at Palazzo dei Cartelloni on the afternoon of Saturday, November 12.
The event was also covered in numerous website articles online.
SACI thanks everyone involved in planning, attending, and making this event possible!