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Uniting art and science to facilitate the transmission of knowledge

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Feb11,2024

Unir art and science to facilitate the transmission of knowledge

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Photographer and filmmaker Baptiste Grison accompanied ISMER researchers aboard the Coriolis II during an experiment aimed at documenting the movement of pollutants falling into the sea, by dumping a dye into the St. Lawrence.

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Voice synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, allows you to generate spoken text from written text.

Sailing aboard a research boat, participating in experiments and discussing laboratory results: all of this is nothing unusual for the scientific community. But more and more, it is also the reality of artists, who are invited to join researchers throughout their efforts. This marriage between arts and sciences often facilitates the sharing of knowledge.

This week, researchers from the Rimouski Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMER) and the Laboratory of Biology of Aquatic Organisms and Ecosystems (BOREA), based in Paris, will be gathered in Rimouski for the final meeting of the AUdiTIF project. They will take the opportunity to present their work on the impact of maritime traffic on mussels and scallops.

These scientists will be accompanied by musicians Maxime Dangles and Tommy Rizzitelli who will offer a concert at Coop Paradis on Thursday evening, during which they will offer original compositions resulting from close collaboration with the ISMER team and the BOREA laboratory.

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Musician Tommy Rizzitelli observes the work of researcher Réjean Tremblay in the laboratory.

The artists really came to work with us when we were doing experiments and we discussed a lot with them about the results obtained, says Réjean Tremblay, professor of ecophysiology and aquaculture at ISMER and co-coordinator of the AudiTIF project.

It's not just music created based on the sounds captured during our experiments. They try to transmit a little information from the discussions we had.

A quote from Réjean Tremblay, professor of ecophysiology and aquaculture at ISMER

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This concert allows us to share certain knowledge with people who might not have traveled to attend a scientific conference.

For Réjean Tremblay, this is an important benefit of this union between the different disciplines. We [scientists] work in a fairly Cartesian way when we do our research, while artists work in a very different, more emotional way. We can feel things differently, try to open everyone's horizons a little and facilitate communication and the transfer of information, says the professor.

This desire to bring together the arts and sciences has been present for several years in Europe. For us, the projects are fewer in number for the moment, but the concept is gaining popularity.

Since the end of summer 2023, photographer and filmmaker Baptiste Grison has been curator of arts and sciences at the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR), a position created as part of theTransformer l'action pour le climate. This initiative brings together teams from four Canadian universities in numerous disciplines such as oceanography, education, history and health, around issues linked to the oceans and their role in climate change. .

Last Thursday, Baptiste Grison boarded the Amundsen, the Canadian Coast Guard research icebreaker, for an expedition in the Fjord du Saguenay. He accompanied a team of scientists and photographer Joan Sullivan for the Frozen Horizon project, the first mission linked to the Transforming Climate Action initiative.

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The CCGS Amundsen is Canada's only research icebreaker.

My specialty is to identify the research projects that emerge from this program and to determine what kind of artists can be associated with them. Is it contemporary dance, theater, visual art? Then, we will make calls for projects from artists and match them with scientists, explains Baptiste Grison.

Before beginning this mandate, the new commissioner of arts and sciences at UQAR himself collaborated, as an artist, with a team of researchers during an experiment aimed at documenting the movement of fallen pollutants. at sea, by dumping an environmentally harmless dye into the St. Lawrence.

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Image taken from the short film Déversionement by Baptiste Grison.

The short film produced as part of this project was presented in Mexico, the United States and Europe. He has done film festivals dedicated to science, film festivals dedicated to the sea and super niche contemporary art festivals. It touches a very large audience, points out Baptiste Grison, who indicates that the film aroused a lot of curiosity.

When I accompanied the short film at the Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma in Montreal, for example, there were a lot of questions from the public. Why did you do that? Why did you put color in the water? So here we are talking about science, he emphasizes.

You are at the Cinémathèque québécoise, at a film festival, and we are talking about science. For scientists, seeing that is a treat.

A quote from Baptiste Grison, commissioner of arts and sciences, UQAR

Baptiste Grison believes that it is this type of results that will convince more and more researchers to focus on this type of approach. It’s a big wheel that needs to be started. Once she's gone, she'll be gone, he said.

To obtain the expected results, certain factors must however be brought together, believes the UQAR arts and sciences commissioner.

I don't want to have artists who look at scientists and do a project on them, a documentary. We want ideas to bounce around. It's really a meeting, but it involves time, he says.

I realize that, often, scientists are a little intimidated by the artists you see on TV, that you hear on the radio. And artists are intimidated by the scientists in their labs, who have PhDs, postdocs, etc., he says.

But deep down, notes Baptiste Grison, these are people who have many things in common. They are creative people, who use experience to find new things. These are people who want to innovate all the time.

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This image taken from the doctoral project of researcher Jérôme Lemelin was captured to measure the movement of the ice. Baptiste Grison notes that some research images, like this one, have the potential to be exploited from an aesthetic point of view, even if there is no initial artistic intention.

We have to start with the human, by bringing people together, and showing all the relevance that it has, all the repercussions, consider -it.

A sign that to try it is to adopt it, at least for some, Professor Réjean Tremblay hopes to repeat the experience lived during the AUdiTIF project. He explains that a second part, which will make it possible to study the effects of maritime traffic, this time on crab, lobster and bourgot, should begin shortly. We will try, in the coming months, to release funding to be able to integrate an artistic component into AUdiTIF 2, indicates the ISMER researcher.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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