Fraunhofer MEVIS is delighted to welcome LA-based Turkish media artist Zeynep Abes to our artist-in-residence program STEAM Imaging IV, realized in collaboration with Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria, the International Fraunhofer Talent School, and School Center Walle, Bremen, Germany, and UCLA ArtSci Center, Los Angeles, USA. The residency includes a series of online and on-site encounters that bring the artist and Fraunhofer MEVIS scientists together with school students and their families in Bremen, Germany.
In various media art projects, Zeynep Abes has worked on memory loss and false memory, questioning how and why our recollections are subjective. Now, the artist aims to explore with the artwork "Moments Within" the phenomenon of false memories through the lens of new possibilities in Alzheimer's disease diagnostics as well as the personal experiences of different memories of siblings' shared past. The understanding of one's personal past is constantly being negotiated, fought over, and shaped by our minds and the recollections of others. Abes inquires how recollections are fluid things, subject to alteration every time they are retrieved. Humans tend to modify recollections depending on their current state of being. The artwork, consisting of a video installation and a virtual reality experience, will follow the journey of the memory as it slowly distorts and changes into a different occurrence via brain scans and archiving tools.
To support the development of the artwork, a team of scientists from the field of digital medicine will engage remotely with the artist over the course of six weeks. These include a neuroradiologist, an expert in physics of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), a mathematician and experienced STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) workshop leader, a mixed reality researcher, an expert in interactive science communication, and other professionals.
At the same time, the school students will receive an introduction to medical image processing by the scientists and discover the underlying STEM sciences, participate in medical drawing and AR model building, and learn about the artist's views and approaches towards digital medicine. The participants will create joint health-related evenings for the students' families in 2022, discussing the possibilities of digital medicine based on relevant health questions raised by the families.
The artist injects the artistic approach and skills when engaging with the school students and families to open a transdisciplinary process that blurs the lines between disciplines. This will contribute to a broader approach towards self-motivated interaction with severe health issues and new technologies.
Abes' artwork will be accessible to a broader public through an online exhibition at the Ars Electronica Festival. This is the most important international festival of digital art, which presents trends and long-term developments in a future-oriented way. In addition, the artwork will be exhibited on-site at the UCLA ArtSci Center in Los Angeles, USA, in 2022.
Navigating successfully between various disciplines is crucial for future education and innovation. The residency hosts aim to strengthen multidisciplinary talents, encourage school students to consider studying STEM sciences, and engage in self-driven ways with art, science, and technology. This aims at nurturing talents and giving participants new skills to expand their expressive and creative practice. Participatory, interdisciplinary inquiries and discussions are at the core of this practice. These include fundamental knowledge and free creative exploration to understand a subject thoroughly.
We believe art and humanities are influential, critical voices that describe the effects of technology on humans and society and should be considered in technological developments at an early stage. "STEAM Imaging" adds interdisciplinary on-site and online methods to STEM teaching by connecting digital medicine with other disciplines to foster engagement with and ownership of future technology. We understand STEAM as a synonym for exploring and integrating the mindsets and ecological networks of different subjects. The 'A' in STEAM encompasses ALL other disciplines. These interactions can enhance contrasts to make underlying movements in tech development visible and contribute to new solutions.
The STEAM evenings and the developed artwork function as an experimental framework to inform about the desired impacts of digital medicine and start critical discussions about possible unwanted side effects. In addition, these events should inspire school students to take part in the future of digital medicine and encourage them, with the support of their parents, to consider studying STEM sciences.