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Brown, Juler, Talbot and Weileder - A Scientific Encounter

Interdisciplinary research project examining how we see the world through scientific objects, and how those objects affect us

Drawing on paper

This multi-part research project examines how we see the world through scientific objects, and how those objects affect us. Originating in a research collaboration between Newcastle University, the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Montpellier and Montpellier University, the research involved Fine Art researchers reflecting upon the collections of medical, scientific and other objects held by Montpellier University through the critical prism of the philosopher Bruno Latour’s concept of ‘inter-objectivity’ - the idea of how objects interact with human and non-human subjects and objects.

Outputs include an exhibition - ‘A Scientific Encounter: On inter-objectivity’, Faculty of Medicine, Montpellier University, (2017), and an edited book: ‘Post-Specimen: Encounters Between Art, Science and Curating - Rethinking Art Practice and Objecthood through Scientific Collections’ (Intellect, 2020).

Researchers, working with the largely unmediated and uncatalogued collections, were able to tender new practice[1]led interpretations of the ‘specimens’ from outside the norms of received knowledge or classification. Brown, Talbot and Weileder’s new artworks were subsequently exhibited in Montpellier’s Faculty of Medicine. The format and method of the exhibition consisted of pairing the artworks with specific objects for display in the museum vitrines, thus making the new and unforeseen interactions between the artworks, the chosen objects and the audience a central part of the exploration and the research methodology.

Building on the exhibition and associated symposium which included Juler, Brown, Talbot and Weileder from Newcastle and researchers from Montpellier, the book ‘Post-Specimen’, co-edited by Juler, engages the original critical framework through exploring, in a series of essays, what a specimen or museum object might be when analysed in the light of contemporary arts practice. Alongside chapters by Brown, Juler and Talbot, it includes invited contributions from scholars in other disciplinary fields.

Additionally disseminated through the European History of Science Conference ‘Visual, Material and Sensory Cultures of Science’, Bologna, 2020.


Download project PDF: Brown, Juler, Talbot and Weileder - A Scientific Encounter (2.4MB)