At least ninety percent of the biodiversity on Earth is invisible to the naked eye…
Scale Free Network (SFN) is an art-science collaborative made up of two artists (Briony Barr & Jacqueline Smith) and a microbial ecologist (Dr Gregory Crocetti), based in Melbourne, Australia. Formed in 2008, SFN creates interdisciplinary workshops and participatory installations for children and adults, combining both artistic and scientific themes. Focused on the microscopic world as a source of inspiration and wonder, SFN projects visualise and explore this invisible realm. Using interactive microscopes, projections from the microworld, hands on sculpture and drawing techniques, the viewer-participant is asked not only to engage with what they are seeing, but also to question the human scale, from which they are so accustomed to seeing.
Our familiar view of the everyday structures around us often prevents us from appreciating their complexity. Dust, coins, grains of sand, or our own skin cells are made strange when viewed through the lens of the microscope, becoming visible in the kind of intricate detail that always makes us wonder….
Scale Free Network got started with a grant from the City of Melbourne to develop and produce a series of ‘microscope-drawing workshops’ for children (aged between 5 & 12 years). These were held at ArtPlay, civic art studio in Melbourne. A recipient of National Science Week Grant that same year, SFN then presented a two-day Interactive Microscope and Drawing Exhibition, including artwork by over one hundred children – all participants in our ArtPlay workshop series.
Since then, our art-science labs, workshops and participatory installations have been delivered as part of school holiday programs, regional school residencies, after-school programs, at festivals, farmers markets, art galleries and science institutions in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. The list includes: CSIRO Double Helix Club, Regional Arts Victoria, National Science Week(s), The Big Draw Festival(s), Moomba Festival, Castlemaine Farmers Market, Queen Victoria Market, The Royal Institution of Australia, Free Range Science (RiAus), The Art Gallery of Ballarat and The Ipswich Art Gallery.
In both 2011 and 2013, SFN were visiting scholars at Natalie Jeremijenko’s Environmental Health Clinic (New York University), undertaking research, participating in her project The Cross Species Adventure Club (Postmasters Gallery) and giving talks to students at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Art.
Scale Free Network has performed chemical reactions, live drawings and microscopic projections at events such as The OtherFilm Festival (Brisbane), as part of Psycho Sub-Tropics at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (Melbourne) and at Carbon Arts’ Native Botanicals Dinner, held at McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery (Melbourne)
Group exhibition credits include Exhibition, a six-month long art experiment in a vacant shop front in New York and The Brunswick Project (invited by Slow Art Collective) at The Counihan Gallery (Melbourne).
In August 2012, SFN exhibited The Elaboratorium,a month-long solo show at The Counihan Gallery in Melbourne. Most recently, SFN has been invited to exhibit this same interactive work at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea. This will take place between November 2013 and March 2014.