Experimental space draws attention to water

Experimental space draws attention to water

Science Gallery Bengaluru is back for its second edition. This year's event, which kick-started on Saturday, is titled 'Submerge' and focuses on water.

Science Gallery Bengaluru is back for its second edition. This year’s event, which kick-started on Saturday, is titled ‘Submerge’ and focuses on water.

Science Gallery, Bengaluru is a space to engage young adults and create a link between the fields of science and humanities, through experimental spaces, exhibitions, educational workshops, training programmes and public events.

The gallery was developed with the support of the Government of Karnataka and academic institutions such as the Indian Institute of Science, the National Centre for Biological Sciences and the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology. 

It is a member of the global Science Gallery network, started by Trinity College, Dublin.

‘Submerge’ explores how we experience water in life and looks at the challenges we will confront in the future. 

The exhibition is being held at the Bangalore International Centre from December 15 to February 1, 2020. 

‘Submerge’ seeks to showcase what could happen if geologists, hydrologists, civil engineers, ecologists, sociologists, oceanographers, artists, historians and storytellers collaborated and shared their knowledge of water to address challenges of the future  

It is a joint initiative of the Science Gallery, Bengaluru, the US Consulate in Chennai and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Kiran Majumdar Shaw, the Managing Director of Biocon and the chairperson of Board of Directors of the Science Gallery, Bengaluru says, “What is very interesting about Bengaluru is that it is the science capital and we have a wonderful collaborative ecosystem which has brought this exhibition. But more than anything, it is the support of the government of Karnataka which has made this event possible.”

Andrea Bandelli, the Executive Director of the Science Gallery, says, “In the modern world, we need new skills such as empathy creativity and problem formulation rather than problem solving. These skills can’t be taught. So, we need narratives and platforms to look into the future where the society is heading, and Science Gallery is that platform.”

Submerge had several exhibits relating to its central theme of water. ‘Archeabot’, an underwater robotic installation, explores what life might mean in a post-climate change future. 

Another interesting exhibit, the ‘Terra Mars series’, which presents artistic satellite images of Earth and Mars developed using Artificial intelligence which can be interpreted in several ways such as a remix of planets, a preview of terraformed Mars or destroyed earth.

There is something for fans of the classic novel ‘Frankenstein’. ‘Franken shrimp’ is an exhibit that showcases dehydrated shrimp eggs that are rehydrated under specific conditions as they restart their life processes. Nomaan, a mediator, explains that, “This is the basis to what sci-fi movies try to explore, when a human being wakes up 200 years later. The experiment is about cells and whether can be preserved and brought to life later.”

The exhibition had artworks connected to Bengaluru as well.

‘Munsell Richter’ by Jennifer Wightman is made of mud samples collected from ten water bodies across Bengaluru. The microbes in the mud photosynthesise pigments. The samples were collected from lakes ranging from polluted ones like Varthir to relatively clean ones like Puttenahalli. Some samples showed pigmentation while others did not. On asking Arushi which sample represented the polluted lakes, she says the artist didn’t want that to be known as she wanted to highlight that conditions which may be detrimental to one species may lead to the growth of another species, thus challenging our understanding of life.

There are also exhibits that may have an industrial application in the near future. ‘Argus’, for instance is a bionic plant that monitors water for toxic impurities through nanosensors in its leaves. The nanosensors make it glow indicating the presence of heavy metals like lead.

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