Carnegie Mellon University
January 09, 2012

Press Release: "Intimate Science" Exhibition Opens at Carnegie Mellon's Miller Gallery, Jan. 20 - March 4

International Artists Present Work at the Intersection of Art, Science and Technology

Contact: Teresa Thomas / 412-268-2900 /

Intimate SciencePITTSBURGH—"Intimate Science" premieres at Carnegie Mellon University's Miller Gallery on Friday, Jan. 20. The exhibition, curated by Andrea Grover, will be on view in Pittsburgh through March 4, when it heads to San Francisco, Hartford, Conn., and other U.S. locations through 2013.

"Intimate Science" gets under way with a trio of activities on Jan. 20. At 12 p.m., artists Allison Kudla and Philip Ross will speak about their work, with lunch provided to guests, at Margaret Morrison Hall room 203. At 5 p.m., events move to the Miller Gallery in the Purnell Center for the Arts, with a walking tour of the exhibition led by curator Grover and many of the artists. The day ends with the "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral reception" from 6 to 8 p.m., which includes the launch of a related publication, "New Art/Science Affinities" (published by CMU's Miller Gallery and STUDIO for Creative Inquiry). The exhibition and opening day events are free and open to the public.

As an Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellow in residence at Carnegie Mellon's Miller Gallery and STUDIO for Creative Inquiry in 2010, Grover researched artists embedded in scientific or industrial environments in the 1960s. She recognized a shift in discourse and practice. While artists two generations ago were dependent on access to technicians, labs, computer time or manufacturers to realize works of scientific or technological complexity, artists now have far greater agency to conduct this kind of work themselves. Even ambitious endeavors such as biological experiments, materials research and micromanufacturing can be conducted by today's working artist — and not at a naive or removed distance.

"Through their engagement with 'intimate science' a more knowledgeable public might well be able to influence what research is supported and adopted by the larger culture, and the walls of science can become more transparent," Grover explains.

"Unlike the rare 'Leonardo' polymath of the Renaissance, contemporary artists who operate across disciplines employ the expertise of the network: the network, not the individual, is encyclopedic. The Internet has provided unprecedented access to shared knowledge assets, materials, fabrication processes, microfunding and audiences. This exhibit examines how networked communication and open source culture have contributed to this shift from artists aiding science to 'doing' science, and the impact this imparts on the way scientific knowledge is acquired, used and shared."

Intimate Science's featured artists are:
  • BCL (Georg Tremmel & Shiho Fukuhara, Tokyo) bio-hacks genetically modified flowers — carnations bio-engineered to have a bluish purple color — back into living plants with the intention of creating an "open source" population of these flowers.
  • Center for PostNatural History (Pittsburgh) is a project spearheaded by Rich Pell, associate professor of art at CMU, with the objective to advance "knowledge relating to the complex interplay between culture, nature and biotechnology." It is a singular natural history museum that is concerned with "PostNatural" varieties of life normally excluded from scientific taxonomy, such as transgenic organisms that have been altered by humankind via selective breeding, genetic engineering or other methods of biological tampering.
  • Markus Kayser (London) takes notions of sustainable micromanufacturing to the extreme through projects like his "SolarSinter," which combines a custom-made 3D printer with solar power to transform sand — on site in the Sahara — into glass objects, and "SunCutter," a low cost laser cutter that makes objects by focusing sunlight into a powerful beam.
  • Allison Kudla (Seattle) combines computer fabrication technologies and plant tissue culturing to make living installations, which she describes as biological material in collaboration with an engineering mechanism.
  • Machine Project (Los Angeles) is a "not-for-profit arts organization and community event space dedicated to making specialized knowledge and technology accessible to artists and the general public." Machine describes its terrain as encompassing "art, technology, natural history, science, music, literature and food," and more. Machine's style of presenting promotes hands-on engagement that engineers atypical collisions between different branches of knowledge.
  • Philip Ross (San Francisco) works in the realm of "bio techniques." Utilizing living organic materials, he makes sculptural and architectural works with plant and fungal materials, as well as videos about microorganisms. His "mycotecture" series is an experiment using reishi mushrooms as a sustainable construction material.

Intimate Science includes additional events that are open to the public:
  • Saturday, Jan. 21, 12 - 6 p.m.: "Mind Reading for the Left and Right Brain" Workshop with Machine Project. $25 fee covers galvanic skin response kit participant keeps. Spaces are very limited. For details and to register, visit
  • Friday, March 2, 6 p.m.: Grand Opening of the Center for PostNatural History, 4913 Penn Ave.

Admission to the Miller Gallery is free and open to the public. Hours are noon - 6 p.m., Tuesday - Sunday. For more information including print-ready images and downloads, visit