Hémisphères – 2019

An exhibition celebrating the intersection of art and science through the artistic expression(s) and communication of science.


Jacqueline Angeli
Simultaneous Contrast, acrylic on canvas

Colours don’t exist in isolation, they are affected by the environment and context in which they are perceived. In my work I bring this concept back to art and sci by depicting these two words on top of different colorful backgrounds; in fact, like colour, art and science cannot exist separated from their context and the environment in which they are practiced.

Pauline Béziat
ETH Zürich, “Sea level under climate change”, Climanosco; Roy et al., 2019, watercolour illustration

Climanosco is a non-profit organisation producing a scientific journal, founded with the vision that climate science should be attractive and accessible to everyone. Articles are being published in non-technical English and open access, accompanied by scientific and artistic illustrations. Climanosco engages a growing community of volunteering citizens, scientists and artists to work together in developing and communicating climate research.

This drawing represents the background layer for an illustration produced for the manuscript “Sea level under climate change: Understanding the links between the past and the future”.
Global sea level has risen about 3 mm/year over the 1993 – 2015 period. It is estimated that the melting of mountain glaciers, of the Greenland ice sheet and of the Antarctic ice sheet have respectively contributed about 0.75, 0.6 and 0.3 mm/year, while the thermal expansion of the oceans has raised global sea level by about 1.1mm/year. Storm surges and salt water intrusions threaten coastal communities and are expected to induce large-scale migration. Currently, 625 million people live within 10 meters of average sea level; by 2060 this number is forecasted to reach 1.4 billion.

Aleksandra Bzdzikot
Creative Switzerland
Moonlight walk, oil on canvas
Birth of a woman, acrylic on paper
Star woman, oil on canvas
The origins, oil on canvas  

This series of artworks was inspired by my interest in quantum physics, quantum metaphysics, astronomy and astrology.

The theory of other universes, ancient Sumerian astrology and the Sumarian depiction of the Solar System inspired me to create “Moonlight walk” and “The origins” paintings.

The place of humans in cosmology have always been the field of my study. The interplay between small (us, humans) and big (the universe, planets) is the subject on the attached paintings. I wanted to show this difference, but also indicate that we, humans, have been built with the same particles, that created the universe. Our bodies were metaphorically made from stardust.

I share the views of Rodney Collin regarding cosmology. His “Theory of Celestial Influence” inspired me to dwell more on this subject. I like his comparison of our Solar System within a section of the Milky Way to a cell within a section in a human body. The geometrical patterns, golden ratio and mathematics work well in us humans, as well as in examining the universe. That’s why on the attached paintings there is an interplay between the universe and the human being (a woman).

The mission of my paintings is to inspire the public to discover more about astrophysics and its contemporary theories. To pose questions: where are we in the universe? Are there other universes? Did our solar system look differently many many years ago?

Regarding my technique – it’s oil or acrylic on canvas. Here, I also try to indicate, with different movements of the brush, the theory of the wave-particle duality. There are some straight or circular lines on the paintings, as well as small dots. They exist on the same plane  on my paintings and complement each other.

Kenza Benabderrazik, Luzian Messmer, Braida Thom
ETH Zurich, World Food System Center and Sustainable Agroecosystems Group
On field, audio-video installation

Science goes beyond numbers. With this work we want to provide a platform and show a glimpse of the human dimension in food system research. It is the story of tomato farmers in Morocco and Ghana, tef farmers in Ethiopia, cocoa farmers in Ghana and three researchers reflecting on their field experience.

Lucia Bernasconi
ETH Zurich
The tears of Mother Nature, illustration; pencil, watercolors, guache, ink, pencil, collage on paper, 50 x 65 cm.

We are actually constructing everywhere and destroying forests, fragile ecosystems and rare species. The pollution of the environment rises together with the temperature and extreme events. It is time to do something. Science and research are possible ways to find solutions, together with the awareness and the respect of humankind.

Arik Beck
ETH Zurich
Failure AB48_0003 (Green/Pink print), print

Nanomaterials are materials with features in the nanometer size (in the rage of a millionth of a human hair diameter). Nanomaterials exhibit unique properties, that a larger compound of the same material doesn’t possess. Nanomaterials cannot be produced by machining but need chemistry to form under very controlled conditions. The materials are used for example in medicine technology, energy transformation or computer industry. Discovering new materials in this field contains a lot of failed attempts.

The picture shows the failed attempt to create nanobrass (Copper and Zinc). The two materials never wanted to merge.

Transmission electron micrograph, post edited, magnification of the image 10 000 000x (1 cm = 1 nm).

Failure AB26_0001 (Yellow/Blue print)

Nanomaterials are materials with features in the nanometer size (in the rage of a millionth of a human hair diameter). Nanomaterials exhibit unique properties, that a larger compound of the same material doesn’t possess. Nanomaterials cannot be produced by machining but need chemistry to form under very controlled conditions. The materials are used for example in medicine technology, energy transformation or computer industry. Discovering new materials in this field contains a lot of failed attempts.

Here the attempt to create spherical nanocrystals of Copper and Indium in a uniform size failed.

Transmission electron micrograph, post edited, magnification of the image 10 000 000x (1 cm = 1 nm).

Sarah Clement
University of Massachusetts
If Neurons Collided, printed illustration

The way our brains receive information is a delicate system: synapses are the contact points in the brain where neurons communicate with one another. The internet, however, seems to be changing how we process information. Here, I imagined a breakdown of synapses, where communication between neurons is broken down, and the neurons essentially collide into one another, or “information overload.

Romain Civioc
A glimpse of infinity, installation

I try to capture the essence and the beauty of Nature and immortalize them with the help of Gold vapor deposition or by embedding them in Aerogel.

Dr. Alessandro Crimi
University Hospital of Zurich
Fluid Synapsis, acrylic on Canvas

Brain plasticity is the ability of the brain to change throughout an individual’s life, e.g., brain activity associated with a given function can be transferred to a different location, the proportion of grey matter can change, and synapses may strengthen or weaken over time. This painting has not been made by using paint brushes, I just poured colors in a glass and then on a canvas (fluid painting) to be faithful to fluidity and plasticity (I have one version with one neuron and one with several neurons) Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq8XnyahRtc/

Jordie Compton
University of Pennsylvania
Ready for Analysis, Charcoal and Chalk

Amongst the chaos that exists on a typical organic chemist’s workbench are NMR tubes. These long thin cylinders contain synthesized compounds ready to be placed inside an NMR spectrometer. NMR is the molecular version of an MRI; a sample is placed in a super-conducting magnet and irradiated with radio waves. Analysis of the unique spectra produced by nuclear magnetic resonance allows the chemist to determine a compound’s structure.  

Time to Purify!, Charcoal and Chalk

Another mainstay of an organic chemist’s workbench are test tubes from column fractions. Depicted here is often the most time consuming aspect of a synthetic chemist’s life: purification. Using long cylinders packed with silica gel, an impure mixture of compounds can be separated based on the affinity of the compounds towards silica.  This is much akin to a change sorter which separates out coins by size.

Roberto Cabezas
Resonant Stories, Virtual reality procedural sculptures

Resonant stories is a piece that explores new ways of understanding emotion and narrative in speech through data visualization. The speech analysis starts with a MFCC (Mel-frequency cepstral coefficients), continues with a dimensionality reduction with t-SNE, then a 3D vector field is constructed based on the proximity of the samples to advect digital matter. The VR work is made of the testimonials of two people in physical rehabilitation programs telling how they perceive their bodies and the re-adaptation process of healing they are experiencing.  

Veronica Contucci
ETH Zurich
Portrait of plastic piranhas, Digital coloring

Precious Plastic Zurich is a project that aims at recycling daily plastic waste and creating awareness about the preciousness of this limited material. We were inspired by the art piece “Portraits of Marilyn Monroe” by Andy Warhol, to express the reproducibility and yet uniqueness of our creations: the piranha clips.

Linda Eve Catania
“pi” or  “π,oil on canvas

My personal thoughts:  What we perceive and see outside is also inside. We are and belong to an infinity of appearances forms and life that has not boundaries.

Ultimately we will have difficulties to pinpoint where appearances start and where they end. It is a forever continuum. We also perceive the way we do  because of our filters and specific senses. And beauty is there because there is an awareness that notes it.

Tatjana Christelbauer
ACD-Agency for Cultural Diplomacy
The Corpus Callosum2030: Connecting Imaginary Lines, installation

The composition of two paintings, four written cards with terms of “rain” in 4 languages and two fabrics (grey and light rosa) can be perceived as an interplay among left and right brain hémisphères. The stripes made of double-sided tape (floor) will act as The Corpus Callosum, a term used in a medicine for a wide, thick nerve tract consisting of a flat bundle of commissural fibers which spans part of the longitudinal fissure, connecting the left and right brain hémisphères and enabling the interhemispheric information exchange.

Background (research, project development):

Exploring the Intertextuality (J. Kristeva) as a relationship between signs and world(s), by deconstructing realities (Wittgenstein, Pierce, Derrida) and connecting them in a Third space (H. Bhabha, V. Flusser) to sustain within the biopolitical phenomena.

Sophie Cavé-Lopez
ETH Zurich
Grasping vocal learning through birdsong, digital illustration

I like explanatory art: a piece of art containing information to understand an underlying concept. Here I represented how scientists try grasping the mechanism of vocal learning using zebra finch as a model.

Vocal learning and communication is part of us, as humans. It is curiously embedded in our identity and our daily life as the base of our communication and as the foundation of our societies. This behavior is learned but also engraved in our genes, and that of others species from different evolutionary lineage. We find this skill common and ordinary although it is rare, complex and extraordinary.

What are the mechanisms behind production, learning and perception of sounds for communication? To investigate it, songbirds, such as zebra finch, is the perfect model system. They are fast reproducing animals with social ability, well-known genome and neuronal connectivity, stable song with clear acoustic features. You can see a spectrogram of the zebra finch song in the center of the illustration (frequency as function of time, amplitude color-coded).

Despite the effort of the international scientific community, this question seems to slip through our fingers.

Yingniao Dai
University of Zurich
Le carnaval des animaux, digital illustration

Inspired by the whimsical musical suite by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, the artist and pianist attempts in this project the visualization of animal vocalization. The sound spectrum is symbolized by black keys on a piano, each representing an animal. The digital illustration also show case part of the human-animal relationship and animal culture. Starting to illustrate children’s books at a young age, the artist incorporate in this design the meticulous strokes from biological illustrations as well as humor and vibrant colors from the wonderlands.

Paul Donahue
Eawag, ETH Zurich
Faecal Sludge Dewatering, video

Faecal sludge dewatering is currently one of the biggest challenges for effective faecal sludge management. This video explains what dewatering is, why it is so difficult for faecal sludge, and shows some potential solutions for the future.

Sarah Engelhard
Griffith University Australia alumni, animated feature
Plants as coastal engineers

An animation about the difference in coastal engineering capacities between plants, based on the scientific research paper by Christian Schwarz et al 2018 published in the journal Nature GeoScience.

Jellyfish and zooxanthellae symbiosis

An animation about the advantage of symbiosis with zooxanthellae for jellyfish, based on the scientific research paper by Shannon Klein et al 2018 published in the journal Global Change Biology.

Management of invasive species through modelling

An animation about modelling the best invasive species management strategies, based on the scientific research paper by Ben Stewart-Koster et al 2015 published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Fabienne Estermann
University of Basel
In Touch, watercolour

Four small Watercolor paintings of contacts in the unseen, microscopic world. Bacteriophages infecting bacteria, Bacteria infecting mammalian cells, battle between two different bacteria and bacteria passing on mobile genetic elements. With the small images there is text, explaining the viewer, what she/he sees like in a scientific figure-legend.

Alessandra Fasoli
Sapienza University of Rome
Beheaded Ancestors – Skulls and Statues in Pre-Pottery Neolithic Jericho, digital illustration

More than a hundred years of excavations at Tell es-Sultan, the ancient Jericho in Palestine, in addition to bringing to light the remains of one of the most ancient cities of the Levant in the Bronze and Iron Ages, contributed in an extraordinary way to the knowledge of the Neolithic period, when the human communities in the Fertile Crescent developed a new social and economic model with the introduction of agriculture and animal breeding. Jericho was, in particular in Pre-Pottery Neolithic (10.500-6000 BC), a guiding site not only for cultural growth, but also for the ideological conception that supported the achievements of the “agricultural revolution”. Among the most representative testimonies of this period are 45 skulls, fourteen of them modeled in plaster, and some anthropomorphic statues found by the two British expeditions that succeeded one another in the twentieth century and by the Italian-Palestinian Expedition of Sapienza University and the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for twenty years (1997-2017). The artwork illustrated how the skulls were manipulated and reconstructed by the ancient population, in order to recreate a human figure using different mix of plasters and shells in modeling and finishing. The drawings represent different perspective and sections of the skulls, and it is directed not just to specialists, but above all to a general young public. They have been used during workshops in Museum of the Near East, Egypt and Mediterranean of Sapienza University with children and young adults to illustrate the ancient process in a comprehensible way.

Lukas Fuchsgruber
Inter-Sect, Digital animation

Inter-Sect is a flow animation through the digitized insect boxes of the Natural History Museum Berlin. The typological likeness is used for a seemless visual stream: the audience experiences browsing biodiversity.

Laura Catalina Román García
Geological landscape of the Rio Nevado, canyon, ink and watercolor on parchment paper

This scaled geologic sketch of the Rio Nevado canyon was generated during detailed field-based mapping and structural and stratigraphic study, which produced over 20 km of 1:25.000-scale structural cross sections. The composition highlights intensely disharmonic folds outcropping along the

southern and northern walls of the Rio Nevado canyon, whilst maintaining the relative orientation and geometry of the structures and permitting comparison of the fold styles in both canyon walls.

Completed in the style of pioneering Swiss geologist, Arnold Heim, this sketch provides a reliable graphical representation of the complex architecture underlying the Eastern Cordillera. Its production harkens a return to classical methodologies in the understanding and interpretation of natural landscape evolution vs. the indiscriminate use of purely algorithmic methods in the reconstruction of “balanced cross sections”.

Deeptanshu Sivaraman, Michal Ganobjak
Frozen clouds / bio aerogels, photography

Aerogels are lightest known solids. For this reason, they can be called “frozen clouds”. They manifest properties between solid and gas phase giving them extraordinary combination of properties such as thermal conductivity, porosity, density, etc.

Franzi Glüer
ETH Zurich
Aletsch 2013-18, flipbook and photography

This flipbook shows the development of the Moosfluh Landslide next to the glacier tongue of the Great Aletsch Glacier (Valais) from 2013 to 2018. This is the time period when I did my PhD-research in engineering geology at ETHZ installing a total station monitoring system in the surroundings and by chance witnessing the dramatic acceleration of this huge deep-seated landslide with the formation of shallow secondary landslides. My work and findings from these 5 years of research are summarized in this simple flipbook showing the activation and failure of the Moosfluh rock slope instability.

Remo Grolimund
ETH Zurich
The whole world in our hands, illustration on poster

Cartoon-Style Illustrations depicting Representations of the Earth/Planets in different philosophical/scientific traditions (inspired by recent discussions of B. Latour, D. Chakrabarty etc.).

Confronting climate change in the Anthropocene, different thinkers emphasized the importance of conceptual and imaginary frameworks for policy-making: how do we represent our planet, which metaphors shape our thinking and acting? Scholarly and public interventions a. o. by Latour, Chakrabarty, Lovelock are pictorially condensed and related to common imaginations of the world.

Felix Hennig
University of Edinburgh, Artificial Intelligence
Face of The Crowd, interactive installation

The idea behind the project is to convey fascination of technology, where the individual elements are well understood but the result still seems magical.

The installation recreates the crowds portrait by combining the individual viewers features.  A camera takes pictures of the passing viewers, which are then merged together. The displayed image adjusts to the new faces over time, the visitor changes the exhibit by viewing It. The merging is based on 68 landmarks in the picture positioned in the eyes, the eyebrows, the nose, the mouth and chin, which are identified with facial recognition software.

Each landmark position is morphed towards the average position for that landmark, calculated from all pictures.  In this way the individual pictures are morphed together, forming the face of the crowd.

Kirsti Hakala
University of Zurich
Water is Energy, drawing on paper

Lac de Montsalvens sits between the Swiss villages of Broc and Charmey. Water from this reservoir is released downstream and turbinated into energy at they power station Electrobroc. This drawing was inspired by my PhD work with the hydropower company Groupe E, which operates Lac de Montsalvens and Electrobroc.

Manuel Hobiger
ETH Zurich
Abundance of lava, ceramics

During experiments things go wrong sometimes. This may lead to groundbreaking new insights or at least, as in this case, to a piece of art.

The exhibit was created in 2007 during a diploma thesis at the Laboratory of Physical Volcanology (PVC) the University of Würzburg (Germany), which dealt with measuring the viscosity of molten lava samples. The lava was melted in a crucible at up to 1350 °C and the viscosity was measured at various temperatures using a rotating steel cylinder.

For the two crucibles on display, the experiment went wrong. The gases contained in the lava caused the liquefied material to overflow and solidify as a glaze on the outer wall of the crucible.

Both crucibles contain lava samples from the Palizzi lava flow from the Italian island of Vulcano. This lava flow was formed during a volcanic eruption about 2000 years ago. The material is rhyolite.

David Ibbett
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Drosophila, video

David Ibbett is a British composer based in Boston. He has found musical inspiration in many places – songs, symphonies, pop, classical and the electronic – and bringing these strands together is his ultimate aim. The son of a scientist, he co-directs the Music of Reality performance series with pianist Sophia Subbayya Vastek.

His pieces of art represents a time-lapse development of a Drosophila embryo with accompanying musical score highlighting key events such as gastrulation, germ band elongation and retraction, and the activation of the nervous system. Footage is by Tomer et al, Nature Methods, 3 June 2012 and music by David Ibbett.

Ikumi Kayama
Studio Kayama, LLC
James Webb Space Telescope, digital illustration

This informational poster was designed to visualize the telescope basics for the enthusiastic public. The artist was invited to NASA Goddard to observe the telescope in production and discussed with the JWST team: scientists, engineers, and outreach educators. From the notes and stories, this poster was created to share the exciting project to better understand the origins of the universe. The illustration used graphite, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is currently scheduled to launch in 2021. Designed to take over the duties currently provided by the Hubble, the JWST has few key differences and improvements. First, it is comprised of 18 hexagonal mirrors coated in gold and beryllium. Using these mirrors, the JWST will study the lower frequency waves from visible to infrared lights. This will allow the JWST to “see” through space dust and to observe very old and distant high red-shift objects. In order to study such low wavelengths, the telescope needs to stay very cold. Five layers of heat blocking sun shields and its placement in Earth-Sun L2 Lagrangian point.

Ikumi Kayama
Studio Kayama, LLC
Asymmetric Metamorphosis of Paralichthys dentatus, digital illustration

This scientific illustration describes how the flounder goes through a transformation as it develops. When the flounders are born (hatched), their eyes are on the either side of the head. When the baby flounders are about 10 days old, the right eye begins to migrate over the top of their head to the other side. As the eye migrates, the flounder begins to swim more and more at an angle. The “upper” side of the fish will have color, but the “under” side of fish becomes white.

Flounder development is visualized so the appearance of the flounder can be seen both from the lateral view and the anterior view. Seeing the developmental stages next to each other helps communicate the idea easier.

Metamorphosis Description:

– Usually takes about 2 weeks
– Dorsal fin migrates anteriorly and ventrally
– The juvenile fish’s cranium (frontal and parietal) bones undergo remodeling
– Dorsal fin eventually grows past the eyes
– Most summer flounders are left-sided, but other species develop right-sidedness.

To illustrate this poster, I worked with the flounder expert at the Carnegie Institute. I was able to get great references from Dr. Alex Schreiber.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX8sqJYj06I

Leonie Kiewiet
University of Zurich
Hydrological Twins, illustration

Paired catchment studies use the strong physical similarities between ‘twin’ watersheds to evaluate the impact of external forces, such as land-use change, on the hydrological regime. This approach allows for synchronous monitoring, and is usually applied to small (headwater) catchments. The insights of such studies are valuable because they help us to understand the role of the vegetation cover on a relatively large scale, and they help us to quantify the effect of practices like deforestation or afforestation on ecosystem services.

Maria Koroni
ETH Zürich
Abstraktion-Enthüllung, illustration on poster

Unlike stargazing, the act of observing unimaginably distant objects, looking inside our planet is impossible with optical instruments. Satisfying my curiosity involves developing complicated simulations on supercomputers to visualise the planetary interior. The simulations illuminate how varying physical properties dictate paths of travelling seismic waves through the mantle and core. This helps us to understand variations of temperature/pressure in terrestrial materials. The imaging of structural complexities deflecting waves, creates a chaotic, abstract, yet fascinating, visual experience.

The images are created using global simulations of differentiated functions. They show how times (or other observed quantities) are changing due to variations in material and temperature distribution inside the deep Earth (or any other terrestrial planet that can be modelled).

Marianne Kunkel
Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)
A Drivers´Dream and White Beach, painting

Two postcards from precious corners of this earth.

Marine pollution and environmental change alter the face of this planet with increasing velocity. These drastic developments become particularly clear when we look at tropical coasts and seas. But there is much more at stake than paradise-like postcard motifs from coral reefs and white-sanded beaches. We need action, cooperation and exchange to not lose those ecosystems that are crucial to our lives.

Alinta Krauth
Queensland University of Technology
The Nonhuman subject, Generative digital video art

The world’s creatures sense their umwelt (environment) in differing ways. These are senses honed to fit their surroundings. However, mounting scientific evidence and modelling shows that with a rapidly changing climate, some species are having to cope with changes placed upon their senses, rendering them potentially confused by their own bodies. Some examples include bats being less able to ‘see’ through echolocation due to rising humidity levels in Germany, lizards losing their ability to sense the chemical signals of mates in the Chilean mountains, upsets to wild horse proprioception in New Zealand due to the wet, and heat affecting the ability of woodlice in the United Kingdom to move and communicate through thigmokinesis. After consulting a range of scientific studies, the artwork presented here uses digital animation and generation to represent this changing umwelten for creatures whose ability to sense are affected by human-led climate change. This work specifically employs anthropocentric aesthetic techniques reminiscent of contemporary painting to create an abstract and artistic 2D realm.

Abhisheka Krishnagopal
Nature Conservation Foundation, India
Pollination, printed painting

How do you tell the story of pollination to the common man, especially in a rural setting without making it sound too complicated to these simple minded people? Pumpkin is a commonly consumed vegetable amongst the rural folks of India. So I decided to use this species to depict the how bees carry pollen from the male flower to female flower which eventually gives rise to the fruit in this case pumpkin. This painting was extremely well received by the villagers as they could connect with the species and were also surprised and excited to know that the creeper has separate male and female flowers. People also realized the importance on protecting bees.

Julien Leuthold
ETH Zurich – Inst. Geochemistry & Petrology
Cooking Crystals, photography

The rock’s (hi)story: 60 Millions years ago, huge eruptions were taking place in Scotland (opening of the Northern Atlantic)… In a >4km 3 cauldron, rocks and magmas were heated at extreme conditions (~1200°C) by hundreds of lava injections, in a fight between crystallization and melting. Just imagine how apocalyptic it was!

Technical information: This is a stitched image of a 4x2cm, 30 micrometers thick rock, acquired with a Nikon Eclipse LV100-UDM-POL microscope, under cross polarized light.

The photograph shows a gabbro from the Rum Layered Intrusion (Scotland). Large clinopyroxene crystals are enclosed in a foliated fine grained groundmass of plagioclase and olivine. The clinopyroxene core crystallized at an early stage, at 1160°C. They were partly molten at 1200°C during successive hot magma injections and subsequently recrystallized, enclosing heat resistant groundmass crystals. This process is opposite to the classical view of cooling and crystallizing magmas. As a result, secondary minerals such as spinel were saturated and subsequently absorbed PGE ore.

60 Millions years ago, huge eruptions were taking place in Scotland (possibly causing a mass extinction)… One of the volcano looked like a huge cauldron, 4km in diameter and 1km deep. It was heated at extreme conditions, by hundreds of lava injections directly coming from the deep Earth at 1250°C. Early cooled rocks were being re-molten, in a fight between crystallization and melting. The crystals were deformed and their composition was changed during heating, cooling and compaction.

The Scottish wind and rain have finally frozen the cauldron and started to erode it. Valleys now offer access to its deep parts, where we can read a fantastic tale, written of crystal letters! And who knows… a similar story may start tomorrow in Iceland…

Dan Lloyd
Trinity college, Connecticut
Music of the Hemispheres, video

“Music of the Hemispheres” is a visualization and sonification in real time of a 15-minute functional MRI scan of one subject.  Warmer colors signify greater activity. Fourteen separate brain networks were distinguished through cluster analysis; each was assigned to a synthesized musical instrument;  network intensity was mapped onto a six-tone scale. In the scanner, the subject is doing… nothing. The so-called rest state is neither still nor quiet. Indeed, this subject, like all of us, is a symphony. (Data courtesy of the Human Connectome Project, https://www.humanconnectome.org/ .  Visualization and sonification in Matlab by Dan Lloyd.)

Clara Levinson
ETH Zurich
The Science Ballet, 2D – painting on paper & collages

The Bauhaus School aimed at closing the gap between the “pure” and the “applied”. Art and craft are linked, and I experience it in the lab when I do histology or microscopy. I can’t help seeing patterns and admiring the beauty of colours and shapes that I craft/produce and stain/process. In this work, The Science Ballet, I illustrate the 5 projects of my PhD using the Triadic Ballet design from Oskar Schlemmer, in a way that would attract the eyes and call for some scientific explanations of the methods used by a larger public.

Alivia Magana
University of New Mexico
The Light Between, photography

Detecting blood on reused autopsy gowns using luminol

Marc Menoud
University of Geneva, Biology
Fig.3 Scientific misconduct, confocal microscope photography

My final project illustrates a part of my master thesis research project. In few words: immunohistochemistry with fluorescent antibodies performed on mouse brain genetically modified to express a reporter gene in specific neurons types.

In artsci words: it is an assembly of 8 squared pictures 2x4 (in the idea of what Warhol did repeating variations of the same image). Warhol wanted to explore the reproducibility and discuss the industrial manufacturing of the images and goods. Here the idea is to explore the variation, the change in perspective of a similar truth and to discuss what is truth and what is not anymore, which is central in scientific data processing. What we can do and what we can’t on image from a scientist and an artistic point of view to describe an object. This is Why I changed the name of the work for “Fig.3 Scientific misconduct” composed of 8 indissociable prints. Each image has a name that indicates its respective position in the assembly like in a matrix:” 1:1, 1:2, 1:3 , 1:4, 2:1, 2:2, 2:3, 2:4 “. None of the image can be separated from the entire artwork, this is why their unique name refer to a place in a global assembly. It is part of the idea of the project as indissociable perspectives on a unique data. I will send you a picture of the entire work to position the images in the right order (and the name will also help to do so). I will write also write a precise description of the work by tomorrow.     

Artash Nath and Arushi Nath
Deep Space Musical, video

Deep Space Musical, a NASA 2018 Global SpaceApps Finalist project, transforms images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope into sound to create a Musical of our Universe. It allows the beauty of the Universe to be experienced by everyone, including those who are blind or visually impaired.

More details at: https://2018.spaceappschallenge.org/challenges/universe-beauty-and-wonder/shoulders-giants/teams/deep-space-musical/project

Autun Purser
Alfred Wegener Institute
Weddell Sea / Powell Basin , Antarctica, Freehand pen sketches, coloured digitally

These sketches were made in Feb – April 2019 whilst within the thick ice of the Southern Ocean, during the PS118 research cruise of the icebreaker, ‘Polarstern’.

Xenia Planta
ETH Zurich, illustration

Organic depression

A contemplation of depression through the eyes of an organic chemist. The molecule is the antidepressant Fluoxetine. It blocks the absorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

Regulating the amount of serotonin helps brain cells become better at transmitting messages, this can result in better and more stable moods. It also seems to increase the amount of neurones in the hippocampus, which plays an important role in the formation of memories.  

Esther, Einstein and Quantum Dots

Ode to the beauty of Quantum dots and creative thinking in science.

Vít Růžička
ETH Zurich
Explore the latent space with your face, illustration on paper and video

This project is trying to show a possible way of how one could interact with a trained generative adversarial network (GAN) model without the need of just feeding it with random vectors (which is the current standard approach of exploring the generative capabilities of these models). Instead one’s own face is embedded by another model and serves as a proxy for the latent vector used to generate new images. Conceptually this work is a strong representant of the intersection of art and science, because the family of generative models is often used to create novel/unseen samples from data and also because this method of interaction with these models has not yet been proposed/experimented with (to my knowledge :D).

The underlying assumption is that the embedding model (which is trained on another dataset of human faces) will be able to represent similar facial features with latent vectors which lay “nearby” each other in the latent space. The generative model then produces similar landscapes, if not you can effectively see the land “spazz out” showing you that the first model thinks your identity is also jumping around. As an example of this, just by moving one’s eyes around, the OpenFace model is fooled and the generated landscape jumps around.

YouTube: https://youtu.be/WncPWHE36S8

Vít Růžička, Alexander N. Walzer, Nizar Taha
ETH Zurich
Uncanny Valleys: Generative landscape, illustration on paper and FTM 3D model printing

With advancements of deep convolutional neural networks (CNN) it is possible to learn highly complex structure from data. In this project we make use of two trained deep learning models, a generative adversarial network (GAN) model with a deep fully convolutional neural network (FCN) model. Our motivation is to intersect the research field of Machine Learning (ML) with the field of Arts, we are interested in the interaction of several independently trained ML algorithms and models. What can come of this unplanned interaction as we will meet more automated ML agents out in the wild in the days to come?

Within this project, we have trained a Progressively Growing GAN on a training dataset of aerial photographs (imagine something similar to satellite Google Earth view) to generate new synthetic samples of non-existing landscapes. Using a so called U-Net model (which is often used for the task of semantic segmentations in medical images and in computer vision application), we train on a task to predict digital surface models (DSM) from RGB images of aerial photos on the Topcoder Urban Mapper 3D dataset. Using the U-Net model we can predict DSM as a height map information from the generated landscapes. Doing this we show that the non-existent generated landscape can be given additional meaning and interpretation in the form of additional dimension of height.

Finally, our project is conceptually interesting because:

  • It is an alternative process to procedural landscape generators, using current state-of-the-art GAN models.
  • The task to generate 3D models with GANs is still considered a relatively hard on and the current results are not really photorealistic. We propose another method of generation of 3D models in this specific category by using a combination of expert knowledge models (one to synthesize realistically looking aerial images and the second one to assign height coordinate).
  • These two models were not trained together and as such we are exploring their interaction in the Wild scenario.

Video: https://youtu.be/x_C8QssRWHI

Baggenstos / Rudolf
Alumni ZHDK Zürich
Hidden Dialogues, time lapse video

Inspired by quorum sensing, which uses bacteria as a form of communication, we playfully brought together two fungal cultures that can emit light. Why are they able to produce light? Title: “Hidden Dialogues – Experiment 7”


Hugo Salais
Modifying Behaviour with Optogenetics
Infography featuring the methodology behind optogenetics and how this technique can be used to modify motivation and behaviour, digital illustration


Ensemble of palaeozoic agnathans (Cephalaspis lyelli, Loganellia scotica, Sphenonectris turnerae, Phelobelepis elegans and Turinia pagei), together with some of the techniques employed in their study (scale analysis, thermodynamic profiles & morphometry),

Dawn at Las Hoyas

Reconstruction of the iberian ornithomimid dinosaur Pelecanimimus polyodon and its environment in the wetand of Las Hoyas

Atlas Beetle

Study of an Atlas beetle (Chalcosoma atlas)

Shwetha Srikanth
Leopards ; dolphins and their issues, digital illustration

Dolphin panel’s – Dolphins are cute and smart creatures found in the oceans and rivers. They have their own squads and families and they go hunting together. Often when dolphins do not get along with their peers they go swimming into the ocean to calm themselves, but this does not happen when they are placed in tiny aquariums. They tend to get a bit lonely and sad eventually give into stress. Shrinking the size of the swimming area forces them to swim in circles which ends up adding to their stress. It is seen that the dolphins who are separated from their family to be placed in an aquarium end up having a shorter life span. Dolphins belong in the ocean and not in a tank.

Leopard panel’s – Amur leopards are native to southeastern Russia and northern china. The illustration is done to spread awareness about this critically endangered animal who face a major threat of illegal poaching activities. One way to spot an Amur Leopard is to look for spots with filling in them on their bodies!

Michelle Sun
Embryo Hearts 01; Embryo Hearts 02, printed oil on canvas

While at Cornell University, I studied the mechanical properties of developing heart valves in embryonic mice. I was fascinated by the rawness of life seen in their delicate, beating hearts and how it contrasted with the sterile, scientific laboratory. My pieces reflect the beauty of the natural world that inspires me as a scientist to pursue scientific understanding and discovery.

Dr. Andrea Six and Prof. Thijs Defraye
Empa Institute
Fruitspy, sculpture

Fruitspy ArtWork illustrates Thijs Defraeye Empa research. He has developed a “fruit spy” to keep fruits and vegetables fresh on their way from the field to the supermarket. This artificial fruit consists of two hemispheres and a sensor that monitors fruit pulp and surface temperature and humidity.  The biphysical twin of a fruit, say an apple, consists of a material that behaves themophysically exactly like a real apple. In the future, the fruit spy will send real-time data to a digital twin of the fruit. This in silico Doppelganger will predict optimal transport conditions and control cooling process and cold-chain logistics.

Fruitspy ArtWork is a copy of the oil painting “Compotier, verre et pommes” that was painted in 1879/80 during Cezanne´s impressionist period. The painter traces the object back to their basic geometric forms and creates an enormous depth through the planar diagonal application of paint. Cezanne often added a white bulgy tablecloth to the subject, which gave still life a certain baroque richness. The first owner of the painting, the artist Paul Gaugin, described the painting as the “apple of his eye” and sold it with a heavy heart to settle medical bills. Today it can be admired at the MoMA in New York.

Hans Thierstein
Beauty of Earth Sciences, installation

The organizers of ArtSci 2019 have invited me to participate again in this year’s exposition Hémisphères. After many years of research and teaching in earth- and environmental sciences, I have applied my creativity to the development of unorthodox installations and gadgets, generally called art. These activities were obviously influenced by my professional past, but I attempted to realize them with three goals in mind: Innovation, surprise and beauty.

My latest project is the development of a new type of kaleidoscope. Its novelty lies in the fact that it consists of four, rather than three mirrors. These are assembled as an elongated, quadratic tunnel, which I named quatroscope. Looking through a quatroscope results in the repeated reflection in four directions of any image placed at the other end of the tunnel. The effect can be experienced (and photographed) with my installation Face-Quatroscope shown here: Place your face at one end and watch the multitude of faces of your partner at the other end of the mirror- tunnel. Surprisingly these multiplications of a single quadratic image often lead to an emergence of unexpected and beautiful patterns. The printed output of these patterns I call quatroscopies. Many quatroscopies, constructed on my computer, are documented at www.hansthierstein.ch.

Displayed here are six quatroscopies of objects, that I dealt with in my past research and teaching. Your optimal experience results from observing these Quatroscopies from some distance and then approaching them slowly.

Quatroscopy 1

Planktic foraminifera (Turborotalia sp., length 0.8mm) in a thin section of a sedimentary rock observed under a polarizing light microscope. This rock is about 40 million years old and was recovered in a drill-hole offshore Libya. Population studies and isotopic analyses of shells of foraminifera have provided important information on global environmental changes through the past 100 million years.

Quatroscopy 2

Thin section of a basalt from the Italian island Lipari, observed in a polarizing light microscope. The identification of single minerals is essential for the scientific classification of rocks. Photo courtesy of Bernardo Cesare (Università di Padova, Italy).

Quatroscopy 3

Greenhouse gases – of mayor concern in the current climate change debate.

Quatroscopy 4

Geology around Lake Lucerne (central Switzerland). Taken from the Geological Map of Switzerland (1:500000; 1972).

Quatroscopy 5

Again: Geology around Lake Lucerne, but observed through a Quatroscope rotated 45 degrees. Comparison with Quatroscopy 4 demonstrates the sensitivity of quatroscopy-patterns to orientation. This sensitivity effect is the reason why it is great fun to play with quatroscopes. In addition: Why should margins of images and paintings always be parallel to the floor?

Quatroscopy 6

Gravity anomaly map of Europe (GOCE, ESA). Red means thick and blue means thin crust.

Carloalberto Treccani
City University of Hong Kong
I don’t believe my eyes, Photography

Machines and Algorithms “see” the world in various ways, and their ways of seeing in turn affects our way of seeing and imagine the world. I don’t believe my eyes, is created using a GANs technique, where 2 neural networks “challenge each other”.

A neural network B must produce an image (e.g., a banana or a toucan) while network A has to judge the quality, or likelihood, of that image. If the image is incorrect, B continues to try, producing hundreds of images learning from previous mistakes, automatically and without the need of a human being, until the image created is recognized by A as real. However, even if the created images looks convincing, the object represented is nonexistent (a generated image), nothing but the “average” representation of the same object belonging to the same class or semantic area (e.g., porcini mushrooms). Nevertheless, these images, if at a first glance they appear true, at a closer look they appear imperfect, strangely distorted and grotesque. However, again, these errors reveal a new world, made of fantastic and unusual creatures, of how Machines and Algorithms thinks the world looks like.

Edith Valdés
Jart Studio-Galery
Sunflower, watercolors

How nature shows perfection.

Thomas Valianatos
Ionian University
Shan Shui Paintscape (G), video art/experimental animation

“PAINTSCAPES” deals with CG landscapes based on fractal abstract painting. “Paintscapes” investigate J. Pollock’s technique of dripping, digitize it in its micro-scale and promote it to a virtual three-dimensional landscape.

The theoretical and technological research of “PAINTSCAPES” is related to nature and its scientific research through literature on the field of Fractals’ aesthetics, nature’s aesthetics and landscape’s aesthetics, but also through new artistic audiovisual tools and methods. i.e.real-time audio reactive music videos, audio visual perfomances.

Fernando Martín Velazco
Stultifera Navis Institutom
Pizarnik Underwater, Poetic Research

On February 2017, the Stultifera Navis Institutom arrived at the remote Vizcaino Desert in Mexico with one single aim: to read poetry to the whales. The place was where the greatest extermination of this species was made on the XIX Century.

To the surprise of the crew, the cetaceans were great enthusiasts of human lyric. For hours, the marine mammals repeatedly approached the small boat from where the stultonauts read an anthology of poems prepared for the act. On 2018 a group returned with a multidisciplinary approach obtaining even more amazing results.

This condition validated the project that started a cycle of poetic interventions in site-specific​, that for the beginning of 2019 consolidated “The Leviathan Games” as a continuous project of artistic and scientific research in extreme periphery, with the register in multiple formats of the behavior of this species.

Unlike other species of whales, grays are extremely difficult to record on their noises.

They procure to “hide” themselves from natural predators (as sharks or orcas) to hear their voices. On this video, the crew approach the attention and confidence given by the Alejandra Pizarniks’ poems and obtain some whale whispers (the noises sounds similar to “congas”). It is the first case where we have the underwater gray whale sound with its behavior synchronized in a video.

Noctural Breath, Poetic Research

“Nocturnal breath” surge from the third expedition of The Leviathan Games (2019). During one and a half month in Winter, we did mount a camp near the Scammon’s lagoon of the Vizcaíno Desert of Baja California to study the gray whales that are stationary around and to read them poetry.

One of the nights, we did register a very unusual phenomenon: whales were making loud noises heard from the shoreline during all the night. As a result of our observations, we conclude they were making their reproductive rituals. At the next morning, one calf ran aground the shore victim of the tidal change, as well as from the males that harassed their mother during the night. Uniting the register of that experience with the tradition of “Nocturnos” in Mexican Poetry was written an acoustic-poem piece that, with accurate biological observations, relates what happened that night.

Anja Zai
ETH Zurich
Through My Eye, sculpture

Through My Eye – I see the world of science and explore new possibilities to expand the limits of what we know. Deeply rooted scientific knowledge meets creativity, inspiration and a bit of craziness to let new ideas sprout and blossom.

Through My Eye – you see into my head, your head, our head. Through a limited field of view, we scientists see bits and pieces trying to infer the unseen; trying to understand how it works inside.

Not Through My Eye – If sensory feedback is missing things change, experiences change, values change… It is through our senses that we interact with the world and the world interacts with us.

One eye open – one eye closed.

Biqing Zhu
ETH Zurich
E-readers vs Printed Books, watercolour, acrylic, color pencil, pastel, pen

This painting is based on one of my course projects, titled “Social feasibility and environmental impact of printed books and e-readers”. The painting only presents the societal and environmental struggles we face while making daily choices, such as which type of books to buy. Each has its advantage and disadvantage, the answer might have more to do with who you are, where you are or what news you read.

If you step closer, you will see a different type of struggles, which we, as scientists, might have to face all the time. I would love to see the circle grow stronger, to become a better foundation when trying to solve the bigger problems we all face together.

About the project report: It serves more as a quick glance to the otherwise massive problem. If you are interested in the details, feel free to read the copy of report or to contact the authors.

Biqing Zhu
ETH Zurich, pastel on paper
The Wildstrubel Glacier Forefield

This painting was created to remember the many field trips of my PhD journey.

Many people think of field work as a nice trip to the nature. However, that is not how I would remember them. My mind was always fully occupied with the sampling schedules, how to deal with emergencies, the frustration with endless mountains and the fear of making mistakes. In a word, it is work. It is, however, by no means boring. Along with the work, I still recall the astonishment when I saw the receding glacier from close distance for the first time. The pity from the realisation that this might not exist in 20 years still haunts me till today. This motivated me both in the lab and in the art studio.

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to study the glacier forefield as a scientist, to contribute a little bit to the knowledge pool that one day might be used to solve the problem. I am very happy that I took the chance to paint the glacier forefield as an artist. It gave me the chance to fully appreciate how beautiful nature is.

An Environmental Scientist

As an environmental scientist, I very much appreciate the calmness and slightly distanced attitude of deers. It reminds me a lot of scientists’ role in nature: we are observants, looking at and examine the plant, animals, earth and sky from close and far distance; we are recorders, trying to track what is new and what has happened; we are analysts, striving to understand the way nature works or does not work. It is by no means easy, as nature has so many layers and so much complexity. It is the spark of new knowledge that keeps us moving forward. It sparks joy, like light shines through dark forests. We do not thrive to gain from, to change or to take control of nature. We thrive to study it, to understand it, and to appreciate it.

© ArtSci 2019