Evolution and art

I’ve been struggling to think of something to say about Darwin or evolution. And then, walking down to the coffee area, I passed this sculpture that I pass every day and thought – aha!

Example 10, by Emily Wardill (2003).
(Apologies for my clumsy attempt to take a photo – I cut off the right hand edge of the sculpture. I’ll try and take a better version next week).
Emily Wardill spent a three-month residency at NIMR some years back and produced this sculpture as a result. Rather than endeavour to explain it myself I will just quote the description on the NIMRart website

…to illustrate how science, and biology in particular, has undertaken a paradigm shift in order to progress. It was argued that rather than science being forced to regress to childhood in order to understand nature, science had actually given birth and was attempting to emulate its offspring. In order to clarify this idea a debased model of Darwin’s famous evolutionary walk was proposed. In this, the progression of man was manipulated to comprise of ape; man; scientist; pregnant scientist; and finally a scientist on all fours crawling next to their new-born.

This set me to thinking about art and evolution and my thoughts turned to the Mutators Research Group who held an exhibition at NIMR a year or so ago. They have produced a couple of videos on evolutionary themes.

I’m sure there must be many more examples of evolution represented by art.

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we slip from print through to electronic information resources.
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4 Responses to Evolution and art

  1. Martin Fenner says:

    Frank, this reminds me of a LEGO version of the same theme:

    Click on picture for source information.

  2. Frank Norman says:

    Haha! That’s a very nice picture. But I like the surprising twist that Emily Wardill’s version takes.

  3. Cath Ennis says:

    Or this one:

    (From Todd Oakley’s blog)

  4. Eva Amsen says:

    Cath, that one is a little disconcerting, because Obama isn’t quite walking upright yet. Or is that just support for the “we’re still evolving” hypothesis.