Part of the Cambridge Science Festival
Curated and Produced by Toby Smith
St Michael’s Church, Trinity Street, Cambridge CB2 1SU
Exhibition Open to the Public Daily
Monday 7th March – Saturday 19th of March – 8am – 5pm
Monday 7th March – 6pm -> 9pm
Research, academic and practical work in the fields of conservation, geography, biology, medical, material and social sciences has long embraced photographic imagery either as a raw data source or as illustration. As technology, digital imagery, data-sets and analysis grows in sophistication a new dynamic and virtual aesthetic is emerging that is closely integrated with new areas of research.
We have sourced these incredible images from 22 scientists working across 12 departments within the University. They have been collated, presented, modified and adapted into rich photographic prints accompanied by informative captions. The exhibits were chosen deliberately to avoid traditional lens based photography and in so doing have become diverse in their scale, ambition, gravity and playfulness. The insatiable curiosity and wonder of science has been made visible to us with intense, colours, scales, accuracy and compositions only possible with a mechanical eye.
One of the worlds most powerful super computers has calculated and made visible a scene 4.5 billion years past where our solar system is seen to be forming from a distance of 100 billion kilometres. This image presented at over 2.5m in height contrasts with mono-chromatic, textured electron microscopy of the very modern material science of carbon nano-tubes all within a scene less than one thousandth the width of a human hair.
3D laser imaging is enabling scientists to see beyond our visible spectrum and delve into familiar landscapes through the new prism of big data and point clouds. These 4D topographies are rich in hidden meaning; tank positions of WW2 are revealed beneath dense tree cover, forest canopies demonstrate their carbon values and the delicate contours of powder snow are made solid for advanced study.
University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute
For biodiversity conservation to be effective, we need to understand how to protect and manage the landscapes and species we are saving; we need to learn about the functions of the ecosystems we hope to sustain and crucially we need to comprehend how all of these interact with people. Such a vast array of knowledge can only be gained through multiple disciplines, as wide-ranging as chemistry to social anthropology.
We established the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI) to promote this interdisciplinary approach to conservation and as a result our exhibition ‘Beyond Images’, curated by UCCRI’s artist in residence, Toby Smith, has drawn images from research within the social and natural sciences and brought them together through their diverse imaging processes. We hope that as you enjoy the visual aesthetic of this collection you will be encouraged to take a closer look and discover some powerful datasets generated by conservation researchers from across the University.