"Slicing up" children at school: A Science-Art-Society installation : written by David Wallis
One of the great bonuses of being part of a university community is the amount of outside-of-work activity to discover. Universities are full of people with lots of creativity and (let’s be honest) too much spare time, which lead to all sorts of interesting things to get involved with. For a few months I’ve been in contact with Dr Xavier Maître, a researcher specialising in MRI. Using his spare time and creativity, he’s somehow managed to take over of a giant soviet-style industrial building. From here he runs the Science-Art-Society (SAS) organisation.
Le sas is a fusion between science and art, the result of the collaboration between scientists and artists, as creators and researchers motivated by an overflowing curiosity. It aims to develop projects that combine the two disciplines, and reach an audience beyond just the scientific community. As part of this dissemination I would be setting up and presenting an installation at a high school in Paris.
The installation consisted of several MRI slices of a couple kissing, set into the slices of a tree trunk. After a considerable amount of hauling (tree trunks aren’t light), we left the remainder of the set-up to the students. Their task was to arrange the slices in the correct order, ready for the rest of the school to discover them. I can assure this is harder than it first sounds! I gave them help (where I could), and explained the concept of MRI and of the installation.
After much deliberation and disagreement, Xavier stepped in to give us some help. The trick- ignore the MRI slices! It’s much easier to line up the tree slices. We quickly finished off the arrangement and took a step back to admire our work. I don’t know what the moral of this is; perhaps to never trust Xavier.