Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

The art of IBED’s science

8 August 2013

Science is sometimes closer to art than one may think. Three new art projects were opened this summer at the Science Park Amsterdam. ‘Steps of knowledge’ by artist Nienke Korthof features images of scientific studies carried out at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED).

Three art projects were selected in a competition that opened in 2008 and aimed at bringing science closer to the public. Korthof’s art work was selected from 350 entries and makes use of an innovative technique that embeds images on a lenticular grating inside pavement tiles. ‘Steps of knowledge’ consist of 48 tiles and they are found on the main footpaths of the Science Park. As people walk by, they will see different images as a result of the changing viewing angle. These ultra-short animations are comparable to the rulers and post cards that shift image when rotated.

Filmic animations

Five of the tiles feature the research of IBED scientists. These cover the study of molluscs by Katja Peijnenburg, egg-laying mites and mites on tomato plants by Merijn Kant (images made by Jan van Arkel), moths studied by Astrid de Groot and the aquatic research of Harm van der Geest.

For Korthof the large diversity of images came as a big surprise: 'for me as an artist it opened up a world of new, unknown and often incomprehensible images'. Fortunately many scientists were enthusiastic in explaining what I was looking at’. Selecting her favourite tile is difficult, but Korthof does list some of IBED’s images as her potential favourites: 'I was amazed by the beauty of the molluscs and the tile of the egg-laying mite is almost a filmic animation'.  

Published by  IBED