Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Pint of Science – a collaboration with scientists

finished_platesThe Pint of Science festival has just ended in Cambridge, with the Creative Reactions art show. Artists responded to the work of the Doctors, Professors, and researchers who were showing their work to the public, in an informal pub atmosphere. I enjoy projects where I am not expected to show up with a finished oil portrait, and where people will interact with my work as something other than spectators or informed observers. Pint of Science let me show just how ignorant I was; it was great.

I wanted to cast bronze, but it turns out that this is at least two of difficult, dangerous, and expensive. I eventually settled on laser cutting, because I wanted simple, iconic pictures. A laser cutter lets me mark a surface, but not apply fine shading. It’s a far departure from fine art, which to me is all about tone, comparative light, and colour. I designed it in Inkscape, a free but powerful vector program.

My first port of call after deciding on the philosophy of my project (another far-out thing for me) was to call on Twitter and Facebook for ideas of what knowledge could be lost in a single generation. The subject of the talk I was assigned was ‘Gender in the Bronze Age’. As it turns out, I knew less than I thought I knew, which was not a lot. So, my art piece reflected how much could be lost, and what could be positively known. It’s a set of icons, and nobody but me knew all of the things they represented, and the links between them. In a related way, nobody can know what people were really thinking or doing in the Bronze Age, and we shouldn’t even think we know – it’s a false knowledge. It’s seldom I use art to make a point, but in this case, I felt I should. It’s also, because I’m an artist, a beautiful pair of objects.