Idea Projects

January 25 – August 18, 2019Idea Projects Logo

Idea Projects, the Ontario Science Centre’s partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada, provides three-month studio residencies to selected artists exploring science and technology through art. The resulting works investigate cultural and societal concerns in a complex and fragile world affected by human behaviour. Idea Projects unites two forms of inquiry and reveals the potential for scientific and artistic collaborations to reimagine the global landscape.

Thank you to all participants and volunteers for their generous contributions, including those of Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, Toronto Botanical Garden, Ontario Horticultural Association, USC Canada, Sayeh Sun Studio, Royal Botanical Gardens, City of Toronto, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Seeds of Diversity, Vector Festival – InterAccess, University of Windsor, 
International Astronomical Union, Astronomy for Development, Evocative Design, Brothers Dressler, Moog Audio, Guttman Laboratory of Pathogen Genomics & Evolution and The Mushroom Guerrilla.

Idea Projects Art

Mud (Lake Ontario)
Nicole Clouston

The vibrant marbling in this living sculpture is formed by the microbial life naturally present in Lake Ontario mud. These soil microbes—living and still growing—are connected to the first microbial life that helped make Earth habitable, and may one day help make life habitable on other planets.

Idea Projects ArtVault: Exchange
Dornith Doherty

Created by renowned photographer Dornith Doherty, this art installation is designed to plant the seeds for future biodiversity.

Did you know it takes 5,000 seeds to preserve a single plant species? This installation is in the process of creating a special Canadian seed bank. Through visitor activities over the spring and summer, this structure gradually transforms as participants replace the 5,000 X-ray images of seeds with 5,000 packets of living seeds. Which native plant seeds would you preserve?

Idea Projects ArtAfrican Space Dream
Milumbe Haimbe

As a child in Zambia, Milumbe Haimbe was inspired by the true story of Zambian science teacher Edward Mukuka Nkoloso, who founded the Zambia National Academy of Space Research in 1964. His lofty goal to send a schoolgirl, two cats and a missionary to Mars involved such unorthodox training methods as placing would-be astronauts inside big drums and rolling them downhill to simulate zero gravity. The animation you see here depicts the imaginary landing on the Moon of Nkoloso’s fanciful spacecraft.

Idea Projects ArtTerraformations
Günes-Hélène Isitan, Alien Agency Collective 

Microbes are the cornerstone of life on Earth and thus necessary human companions on explorations into space. As a metaphor of these unseen synergies, each planet of this uncharted sky is an image produced by the interaction of microorganisms from soil and skin with photographic film. Some images are even still alive.

On Earth, animals, plants, bacteria, fungi and viruses form a network that has co-evolved in a closed system. Humans, like all living things on this planet, are thus deeply embedded in this world and depend on the whole network for their survival. Taking to the stars? If you want to start a life cycle on a barren planet, then better not forget to bring those microbes with you too.

Idea Projects ArtMicrobial Panspermia
Joel Ong

Panspermia is the theory that the seeds of life on Earth were transported here by comets and meteors carrying microorganisms. This visual installation features a computational simulation of the dispersal of these extraterrestrial organic particles using data on solar winds and cosmological disruptions.

Idea Projects ArtLunar Rock Garden
Ekaterina Smirnova, SYSTEM Sounds

This miniature rock garden and painting symbolize and celebrate humankind’s relationship with its closest celestial body—the Moon. Using a unique “simulant” material created in Ontario by Deltion Innovations Ltd., this Moon garden evokes the lifeless lunar surface where Apollo 11 landed. The garden is also reminiscent of a Japanese rock garden, which seeks to capture the essence of nature and invite meditation on the meaning of life.

Music composed by Matt Russo and Andrew Santaguida.

Idea Projects ArtSonic Orbiter
SYSTEM Sounds (Matt Russo and Andrew Santaguida)

Take control of this interactive animation and sonification of the Moon’s impact craters and topography. Explore the entire surface of the Moon by steering the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and create music by flying over craters. Can you find the biggest one?

Idea Projects ArtMycelium Martian Dome
Tosca Teran

Step into a geodesic dome grown from living mycelium “bricks.” Inside, living mycelium (the root-structure of mushrooms) and plants generate sounds creating a non-human derived soundscape that visitors can interact with through bio-sonification. NASA is examining whether upcoming Mars and Moon missions could grow fungi surface structures in situ. This installation imagines what these structures might look like through a science fiction lens—and explores how collaboration with non-human organisms can (re)connect humanity with Earth’s natural environment and each other.

Idea Projects ArtSkinscape
Elaine Whittaker

Take a really close look at your hand. See all the little bumps, scrapes, spots, scars and wrinkles? The body’s largest organ, your skin is a canvas of your life, an evolving landscape etched with your life experiences. Using microscopy images and netting as the skin’s matrix, this immersive piece puts you deep inside the skin to view a dynamic ecosystem of bacteria, blood flow, bruising and blood vessels working together to heal a scar.


Previously on display as part of Idea Projects

Idea Projects ArtHome Away From Home
Jude Abu Zaineh

These flowing draperies evoke the comfort of being home with loved ones while echoing the kaleidoscopic patterns of traditional Islamic art. They feature designs made from images of the growth and decay of Maqlouba, a traditional Palestinian dish. The food—which reflects the artist’s roots—was prepared at home and experimented on in a lab, combining both domestic and scientific spheres.

Idea Projects ArtThrough Our Eyes
Christine Germano

Christine Germano’s work, titled Through Our Eyes—Empathic Reflection features a projection of high-resolution images captured around the world of the people and places experiencing the effects of climate change. A large mirrored panel in front of the wall-mounted screen will allow visitors to ‘put themselves in the picture’ and facilitate social media sharing.

Idea Projects Artᔥᑲᑲᒥᒃᐌᑭᑐ  Shkakamikwe Kido - It Comes Through The Land
Natasha Naveau

Shkakmikwe-kido, It Comes Through The Land, is an immersive installation including the structure built here, a replicated Anishinaabe style teaching lodge, where visitors are welcomed to enter the space, offering a way to connect to land and water in an area along the Cobechenonk/Humber River, through sight, smell, sound, and movement. The installation is inspired by the rise of land stewardship along the Cobechenonk (Humber River) amongst Indigenous youth, activists, and local residents who are working to return Indigenous cultural practices and learning of land-based knowledge.

Idea Projects ArtResolution (Mass of Clarity)
PA System (Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson)

Participate in the creation of clay miniatures to add to this growing artwork! The accumulated miniatures will present a powerful, playful and hopeful mass of intentions set in motion by the act of declaring your vision in physical form. Resolution (Mass of Clarity) combines elements of the duo’s previous projects with new interactive initiatives. Participants create clay sculptures that represent their dreams, aspirations, or needs to visualize and influence real-life outcomes. Meanwhile, a selection of large-scale photographs and prints on fabric, are repurposed to construct new artworks in collaboration with youth in Kinngait, Nunavut.



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