A Proposition of Organisms, Eryn Foster (Jan-Mar 2022) – Art Talks at ARTSPLACE

Livestream - Eryn Foster Art Talk, A Proposition of Organisms (Jan. 29-Mar. 5, 2022)

ERYN FOSTER created hundreds of what she now refers to as “blobs” (or more formally “proto-organisms”) while in residency at the Banff Centre. These were made using a hybrid process of ink drawing combined with a method of contact printing in the darkroom. After completing this body of work, she noticed how the “blobs” strangely resembled microscopic images of primitive, singular cellular organisms. Intrigued by this random creative outcome, Foster began to contemplate-o-organisms could function, theoretically and imaginatively, as a set of primitive single celled organism, and they actually had the potential to evolve into more complex entities from their current state of 2 dimensions into 3?

This led Foster to question, how each of these “blobs” could potentially serve as the building blocks for a propositional “world”. She posed these questions to her friend, Stephen Kelly, a Hamilton-based artist and computer scientist. For the past few years, they have been collaborating on further developing and advancing these ideas, as well as exploring algorithms which have the ability to
transform her 2D blobs into fully dimensional forms.

Foster and Kelly wondered about methods of translating the computer 3D models into real life and how they might approach printing using alternative techniques and materials. From here, they connected with Nova Scotia-based engineering scientist Aaron Outhwaite who has been experimenting with exciting new approaches to 3D printing, along with developing bio-composite material strategies using locally available biomass resources such as seaweed, sawdust, and paper waste. For the past year, Foster, Kelly and Outhwaite, have been progressively working together on this project “A Proposition of Organisms” and this exhibition presents the original photographic “blobs” along with a representation of the art/science collaborations and experiments.

As part of this exhibition, Foster in collaboration with Kelly and Outhwaite, will also present a live/virtual event where they will print a new iterations of 3D forms based on a set of 2D blobs from the exhibition.

Artist Profile - Eryn Foster with Stephen Kelly and Aaron Outhwaite

  • Headshot of Eryn Foster, captured from the livestream video

    Eryn Foster is an interdisciplinary artist based in Halifax/K’jipuktuk. Sometimes she also works as a curator, filmmaker, educator, and arts administrator. For the past two decades she has developed an art practice that is always responding to her ongoing curiosities in the world, currently questions surrounding the origins of life in the universe. Foster studied at Concordia University, where she received her BFA and the University of Guelph, where she received her MFA.
    She participated in the Documentary Studies program at Capilano University in Vancouver.

    Stephen Kelly is an artist, computer programmer, and musician. He has exhibited and participated in residency programs internationally. His work incorporates sound, electronics, mechanics, and other media in the creation of thematically-diverse complex systems. Stephen’s art practice consists of robotic installations where simulated natural systems create immersive ecological fictions.

    Aaron Outhwaite’s research is focused on additive manufacturing, bioprocess engineering, and biopolymer composite materials. Specifically, Aaron is working on developing bacterial biopolymers for use in the fabrication of Engineering Living Materials for large-scale 3D printing of building materials. Aaron is also developing process strategies and machine systems for biopolymer recovery from the In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) of urban metabolic wastes.