Art in India

In 1937 A. Sher-Gil painted Dressing the Bride.


Recently, society in India has been changing rapidly, change reflected in the scientific influence on its art.


– V. Sundaram 2005-8. Master Plan


– A.Dodiya 2017. Air is a Mill of Hooks.



– R. Komu 2017. Holy Shiva (from Gandhi to Ambedkan).


– V. Sundaram, 1988. Shifting the Elements II.


– G. Gill 2015. Acts of Appearance.

[Courtesey of Frieze’s India Art Fair in New Dehi, February 2018.]


Scientific journals are using more high quality designs on their front covers than ever before. For example, for some months now, the front cover of the New Phytologist boasts a series of colourful images. The latest is by CE Stanley and shows the two-way flow of dissolved nutrients along vascular cells of roots.


The covers become art forms in their own image, pleasant to the eye even without knowledge of their scientific significance.

Other recent examples show photo-micrographs of sections of red and yellow table beets, a picture of sunflowers in a field:

nph_v217_i2_cover_lowres-271x356px-72dpi.jpg    nph_v217_i1_cover-271x356px-72dpi.jpg

a drawing of evolutionary artefacts (a tree of life with a DNA molecule), and an out-of-scale mushroom, enlarged to look like a table in the forest.

nph_v216_i2_cover-271x356px.jpg    nph_v215_i4_cover-271x356px.jpg

Nature magazine has for-long developed its standard of design,


while in the US, Science usually has even more artistic license:

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Pitchers and Crappers



  • Three species of pitcher plant, Nepenthes lowii, N. rajah and N. macrophylla, all produce modified leaves which serve as tree shrew toilets They capture nutrients from animal faeces in mountain habitats where insects (the diet of most pitcher plants) are scarce.
  • drawing by C. Thorogood, Oxford – New Phytologist website.


Meanwhile, in Chelsea, a plumber named Thomas Crapper designed a classic wc structure.  th-42.jpeg          220px-Thomas_Crapper_Toilet_Horta_Museum_Branding.jpg

His King’s Road shop is in the opening sequence of Joseph Losey’s 1963 film, The Servant.

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Digital Design

Fabricate 2017: Rethinking Design and Construction brings together building projects involving digital fabrication.

New design and fabrication technologies have improved the understanding of concert hall acoustics, benefitting projects such as Herzog and de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

The book is the official supporting publication of Fabricate, the international triennial conference for those working at the intersection of design, architecture, construction and computation.

Academics at the University of Stuttgart turned a flimsy membrane into a supported building envelope using digital fabrication
The Elytra Filament Pavilion, installed at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in 2016, demonstrates the future potential of fibrous building systems

The projects chosen show the high-tech strategy in which design, engineering and production are leading to a fourth industrial revolution.”

Parametric modelling and advanced structural analysis were used in BIG’s 2016 Serpentine Pavilion in London which featured interlocking bricks


AL_A worked with specialist fabricator ShapeShift and engineers to create the translucent petals of the Mpavilion in Melbourne.

Copies of Fabricate 2017: Rethinking Design and Construction are available to download for free or purchase in hardback for £35 via UCL Press.

8 Minutes

Alexander Whitley is the choreographer of 8 Minutes on the main stage of Sadler’s Wells, London during the summer.


It is done in collaboration with solar scientists from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the title refers to the length of time it takes for the sun’s light to reach the Earth.


Whitley has incorporated quotes about astrophysics into the soundtrack, and has managed to create something that feels concrete and ungraspable at the same time, much like the universe.


London’s Evening Standard praises the way 8 Minutes merges dance, visuals and music as equal partners. Daniel Wohl’s score pulsates with solar energy while Tal Rosner’s hypnotic digital projections feature lava-like waves, inky black views from space and a sizzling red sun.


There is a new exhibition of mobile sculpture by Alexander Calder at the Whitney Gallery in New York. Scientist can monitor the changes. The resulting patterns mean that Calder’s art can be extended to create new rhythms, shapes and relationships.

Double-click on the image below.


Scientific advances in materials science and image analysis enable the work of renovation tackle more ambitious challenges. A recent example of this is the Hudson Theatre in Manhattan.


One of Broadway’s oldest surviving theatres, first opened 114 years ago, has been renovated and reopened earlier this year –

05HUDSON3-jumbo-v2.jpg— with Jake Gyllenhaal in the revival of “Sunday in the Park With George”. It becomes Broadway’s 41st and newest playhouse, 114 years after it became one of Broadway’s first. Then, it opened with a production of “Cousin Kate” starring Ethel Barrymore.


The theater was built by Henry B. Harris, above left, who ran it until 1912, when he perished on the Titanic. His wife, Renée, also above, survived and returned to New York to operate the theater. She became one of Broadway’s first female producers but she lost it to foreclosure in the Depression.


Located on 44th Street just east of Broadway, the ornate theater has led a life as various as Manhattan itself, with stints as a TV studio (1950s), a reborn theater and then a porn palace (’60s), a rock venue (’80s), and, for the last 20 years, an event space for Millennium Hotels.


After the renovation by the Ambassador Theatre Group of Britain the Hudson is ready to be a showplace again and one of the few new theatres on  Broadway.