Digital artist and Lego photographer named artists in residence at the EGU General Assembly 2020
5 February 2020
Priyanka Das Rajkakati, a PhD student in precise satellite navigation at France’s ISAE-Supaéro, and Stacy Phillips, a PhD student at the UK’s Open University who studies melting processes in the heart of the Himalayas, are the artists who have been selected for a residency at the next EGU General Assembly. The Artist in Residence programme offers scientist-artists an opportunity to engage with scientific research in a dynamic setting and be inspired by the many new discoveries being presented at the conference, which will take place in Vienna, Austria from 3–8 May 2020.
Phillips is a self-described ‘Lego photographer’ who illustrates her own research using still images and stop-motion animations of the minifigures and bricks. She will be photographing Lego scenes that are based on new research presented at the conference and will also engage with interested meeting attendees to create a series of ‘Lego scientist portraits’. “Researchers will have the opportunity to build their own scenes, allowing them to learn new ways to communicate their findings,” she writes in her winning application. “Scientists are highly creative problem solvers, and being able to help them unleash their creativity is incredibly fulfilling,” says Phillips, who first became interested in photography while trying to capture the beauty of the world around her during her fieldwork. “Following my passions, I have managed to combine my love of science, photography and collecting Legos into an interesting hobby: using toy photography to communicate science,” she says. “This is what I hope to share with scientists at the EGU General Assembly.”
Das Rajkakati is a hobby artist who creates artwork using a wide variety of mediums, including acrylics and pastels as well as origami. At the meeting, she will focus on producing digital artwork. “I wish to take visual instances from the papers presented at the conference and transform them into coded algorithmic animated images,” she writes in her winning application. An aerospace engineer by profession, Das Rajkakati has always been an artist at heart. “Over years of doing science, I found myself getting more and more ‘distracted’ by the artistic side of it,” she says. “I’m fascinated by the incredible patterns in signals, bioluminescent bacterial cultures, and the infinite possibilities for using computer algorithms to create art.” Philipps, who recently completed an analogue-astronaut simulation at HI-SEAS Hawaii and will be conducting fieldwork in Antarctica later this year, has found a unique venue for her creations: the European Space Agency will be sending her first algorithmic image, NightSky, to the Moon in 2022.
EGU General Assembly participants will be able to see images of the artwork produced by both artists via social media (using the hashtag #EGUart), on screens at the meeting, on the EGU GeoLog blog, and live at the conference centre (in Foyer D on the Brown Level -2/basement).
Last year the EGU hosted an illustrator and a sculptor in residence at its annual meeting. Morgane Merlin and Giorgo Skretis documented the Assembly through art and taught short courses on ‘Get creative! Sketching and drawing (your) science’ and ‘Sculpt your Research’. You can see some of their artwork and hear about their experiences at the EGU General Assembly on the EGU’s YouTube channel.
EGU Programme Committee Chair