Street science, street art

A bill-boarded airliner with an insect abdomen in the Paris Metro, a firearm with a vegetable but decorating walls in Tokyo or an aggressive flower on an advertisement for a famous Swiss watchmaker displayed in Vatican City, the gigantic green and black works of art by Ludo can be seen in streets round the world.

Street science, street art

Often 'hung' in industrial waste-lands or in rapidly mutating city areas, these transient works are now part of urban and industrial art and history, somewhere between an abandoned past and an evolving future. A fine way to make art accessible to a large public.

Prof. Christophe Egles, Chair of Biomechanical Engineering at UTC, a specialist for reparatory medicine and tissue reconstruction surgery, contributed to the monography "Ludo, Dualité", devoted to this street-artist whose biomechanical creatures - organic/mechanical hybrids ...and which questions possible negative drifts of science.Our UTC research scientist has always been interested in the image science has in art. The walls of his laboratory have several paintings that evoke the world of research activities. Among them, a painting by Alain Eschenlauer representing a knot - with a whimsical touch of humour - to symbolize the difficulties of certain scientific problems.

An American artist, Jane Goldman, who produces brilliantly water-coloured genetic codes, came to spend a few days at UTC to take in the essence and aesthetics of scientific images. What Prof Egles would like to do is to propose regular residential stays for artists who wish to discover the day-to-day life of research scientists. "My struggle and my fight is with scientists who believe that artwork is superfluous and I want to open a window on something other than science to help us question even better the consequences of our research", he explains.

Black and green art

It was in the context of an exhibition at the Postal Museum in Paris, that Egles met the graffiti artist converted to producing unidentified vegetable and animal species. "I wanted to ask him about his vision of science and why he is so apparently pessimistic about the future", recalls Christophe Egles. We can readily agree that the weapons, skulls and poisonous plants on Ludo's artwork are ominously violent and black. The intentions of Ludo the street-artist are in fact more nuanced: his violent artistic transpositions level criticism more at possible misuse of technological capacities by rogue regimes or economic powers that do not care much about human lives or freedom, than against scientific progress per se.

The artist shows his curiosity for research carried out in UTC laboratories. Indeed one of his projects is to use cell cultures in a future production. "Comparing scientific and artistic experimentation is rewarding, the first being constantly confronted with reality while the second depends essentially on the observer's subjectivity", concludes our expert in biomaterials with a strong inclination for culture. "

Ludo, Dualité ",
224 pp.,
Ed. Gallimard, Paris