Kick-off art projects about tipping points and micro-biomes

Published on
August 13, 2018

Around 40 people showed up last Wednesday in Impulse to listen to the new artists of “Creative Innovation: Art meets Science” Ludmila Rodrigues and Charlie Williams.

They are part of a group of 10 selected artists who arrive during the year for a temporary stay in Wageningen to create an artwork in collaboration with scientists of different fields. New during this meeting was that six of the scientists also got the chance to introduce themselves. Led by Gerlinde de Deyn, the artists and scientists presented their ideas.

Tipping points

Ludmila Rodrigues from Brazil uses interaction and different senses, mostly touch, as a way to communicate and engage. She will use interaction and sense in her artwork, which will focus on resilience of people to earthquakes. More generally, her project relates to tipping points: sudden shifts from one equilibrium to another in natural systems.


Charlie Williams from the US draws his inspiration from networks: natural micro biomes (tree-fungi interactions), but also social networks. “I want to explore the effects of imperfect communications, whether on a micro or human scale”, he explains. In order to do so, he will build a “colony” with tiny computers and recreate these networks, which represent organisms and respond and react to each other by infrared light. These light reactions will create new, larger, patterns.

New questions

Scientists from the Agrotechnology & food-, Environmental- and plant science groups will be helping  both Rodrigues and Williams throughout the process. Roy van Beek (ESG), Joeke Postma and Sabine Vreeburg (PSG) and Diana Machado, Vitor Martins Dos Santos and Maarten Smulders (AFSG) showed how science can inspire art, by discussing a wide range of topics: from termites cultivating fungi, to reusable plastics and bacterial plant relations. Common topic was the interaction and collaboration between species or compounds, and the ability for humans to learn from or alter those. This triggered new questions and ideas from both the artists and the audience.


The out-of-the-box thinking is one of the reasons why scientists engage in the project: “By collaborating with people outside of my own field, I often get new ideas that I otherwise would not have come up with”, Sabine Vreeburg (Plant Sciences), explained.

Charlie Williams will be staying in Wageningen until the end of September, Ludmila Rodrigues until October.
Information about their work and events can be found on the Facebook event
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