The value of art in science and vice versa

Open: 20:00
Start: 20:30
Free entry


Melle Smets & Cynthia Hathaway > Department of Search
Where art and science create debatable futures

The Department of Search was established in 2014 at Science Park Utrecht and is run by artist Melle Smets, designer Cynthia Hathaway and curator Carlijn Diesfeldt. This department experimented for three years with action research interventions to establish new forms of encounters between art and science.

The Department’s basic procedure is simple: artists thoroughly search University premises and the spaces inside, around and between the buildings, for clues, cues and ideas they can use. They share their findings, models, and ideas for projects with local scientists. A search is conducted for shared values and what they may lead up to. From the intensive adventure will often – there is no guarantee – emerge a wide open panorama of potential, or a collection of debatable futures.

The brand new book of the same name (editor: Ed van Hinte / design: Studio Renate Boere) unfolds the findings and speculates on the potential of a shared space to formulate the fundamental questions of the future.

The book design translates the search to the added value of art and science. It illustrates the space for experiment that is needed to break through conventional assumptions, methods and research questions that both disciplines need to come up with new ideas.

Only at this book launch the book will be 10,00 Euros, bring cash.
(regular pricing: 19,95 Euros)

Emma van der Leest
A product designer with great interest in the field of biofabrication.

As biodesigner, Emma collaborated with different disciplines, from scientists, physicists, artists and designers. Biodesign is based on the principles of biofabrication, a field that emerged out of regenerative medicine technologies. Biodesign incorporates living organisms e.g. bacteria, fungi, algae or cells into the design process. By discovering materials and processes, that nature has designed but hasn’t patented, we can search for new grown materials that are completely compostable and minimize the usage of hazardous resources that can cause huge damage to our ecosystem.

Through a strong design, Emma tells a compelling story. Trained as a product designer Emma completed her undergraduate degree in Product Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam in 2015 (cum laude). She highlights crossovers with craft, scientific research and new production techniques. Emma is trying to create an environment where boundaries dissolve, where different disciplines benefit and learn from others.

Emma interned at Biocouture London, the world’s first bio creative consultancy, and is product associate of the annual Biofabricate conference in New York, an initiative from Suzanne Lee, founder of Biocouture. Emma is freelance lecturer at Willem de Kooning Academy and Design Academy in Eindhoven.

Emma is also the founder and creative director of the BlueCity lab, a laboratory where she opens up a wet, dry and tastelab for anyone who wants to research and develop new materials, from bacteria to waste streams. BlueCity Lab is located in the former Tropicana swimming pool in Rotterdam.

Please join us at
*Stroom Den Haag*
Hogewal 1-9 Den Haag