The Beginning

If a Tree Falls in the Forest is the third art & science collaboration undertaken by project leaders Michaela French, Andrew Pontzen and Helga Schmid. The project is driven by the underlying vision that, at their core, art and science are part of the same search for understanding. In working together across disciplines, by developing shared goals and evolving our practices we aim to generate new knowledge that communicates the complex ideas that drive contemporary physics.

Michaela and Andrew first worked together in 2015 on By the Light of the Stars, a moving image project for RCA Information Experience Design MA students in collaboration with the Peter Harrison Planetarium, Greenwich. The project was designed around a series of cross-disciplinary lectures and workshops, and sought to communicate the profound scientific and cultural implications of starlight in contemporary society.

The L’Observatoire Bizarre was the next art & science collaboration for Helga, Andrew and Michaela.  This extraordinary temporal institute of surrealist research, was made manifest at the Royal Academy, London for one night only in December 2017. Bringing together MA students from the RCAIED Space Program and a team of astrophysicists for the UCL Cosmoparticle Initiative in a site-specific installation and performance exploring the unfathomable complexity of life, death, space and the universe.

The If a Tree Falls in the Forest project offers a valuable opportunity for collaboration over an extended period of time, which allows us to observe, analyse and evaluate the possibilities, challenges and benefits of interdisciplinary practice-based research.







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