Working with Todd Golub and others, we organize the artist-in-residence program at Broad Institute. The focus is to enable artist and scientist to interact with each other, and for each to the see how the other approaches and solves problems. The hope is for artist to help scientist do better science and for scientist to help artist make better art.
Changing how someone thinks about his or her work can lead to positive outcomes. Artist have a worldview that comes through his or her art. Scientist may see the world differently. At the Broad, a genomicist may tell you that DNA is at the center of all things because DNA after all carries the blueprint for life. A chemist on the other hand may look upon DNA as simply brick and mortar. She might say that small molecules are what matters; chemical compounds fire neurons and allow people to think and have conversations. These exchanges of world views is what makes the intersection of art and science interesting.
Daniel Kohn was our first resident and his experience is chronicled in an interview for The Scientist. The work that stemmed from his residency at Broad was exhibited at the Reeves Gallery in New York City in 2009 and at the Broad Institute in 2010. Guhapriya (Gupi) Ranganathan is our current resident, her work is on display as a part of the Science of Art show at Brandeis University.
The process of art and science is not so dissimilar. Scientific discovery doesn’t happen in an instance. Science goes in fits, progress is followed by set backs and failed experiments. Artist experience a similar cadence: sparks of creativity are followed by the lost of the imagination. I like seeing scientist and artist working side by side.