The Culture24/7: Science and Nature brilliance for September 2012

By Ben Miller | 03 September 2012
A photo of two people working with science materials
The British Science Festival returns this month© British Science Association
Astronomy Photographer of the Year, Royal Observatory Greenwich, London, from September 20

Now in its fourth year, this competition’s numerous heats – each offering lucrative prizes, including £1,500 for the winner and a category for Robotic Scope Images this year – makes for a reliably diverse exhibition enticing amateurs and professionals from across the planet.

This year we’ll see snow-covered Japanese mountains, a full moon setting behind an Italian abbey, meteors above Utah, stargazing in South Wales and views of the moon, the Milky Way and other corners of the Solar System. Few shows bring the awe of the universe into sharper focus.

The sea by Night and Day, Daiwa Foundation Japan House, London, from September 12


Toru Kuwakbo, a young Japanese artist who has exhibited to acclaim in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Seoul, divides the gallery into day and night and invites us to navigate the sea as the font of life here, deviating from the sense of fear and destruction it has sometimes fostered in his post-tsunami homeland.

Kuwoud Bonet, a fictional painter, is his adopted persona, an alter-ego inspired by the Impressionists and giving him license to explore clichés of art and artists within vibrant seascapes decorated with everyday objects. This is Kuwakbo’s first solo show in Britain.

British Science Festival, various venues, Aberdeen, September 4-9

A trek north for the BSF this year, finding five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Aberdeen, including harbours and lighthouses backed by the expertise of the city’s university.

The programme is enormous. Kids might enjoy poking a brain, finding about the science of superheroes or seeing demonstrations, stunts and films, while psychology and medicine are among the other festival themes.

Angus cattle and the Aberdeen buttery inspire the food-based programme, which also considers the mental side of dietary control, food addiction and the recipes, smells and revelations behind bread, brie and booze.

Rogue Game, Spike Island, Bristol, September 8-30

Working with Istanbul artist Can Altay, Sophie Warren and Jonathan Mosley have turned Gallery 1 of Spike Island into a virtual sports hall, inviting visitors to play five-a-side football, touch rugby, basketball and volleyball, adapting and evolving each game as the sports compete for space.

Four live matches are planned during the run of the show. But for those who'd rather analyse than compete, Gallery 2 features live and recorded footage, broadcast on multiple screens overseen by a commentator and several editors.

Sublime, Cromarty Lighthouse and Boat Shed, Inverness, until September 9

The Boat Shed and windswept corridors of the age-old Cromarty Lighthouse provide the eerie setting for work by Stephen Hurrel (a film artist) and Mark Lyken (a composer), looking specifically at the ways the environments we're surrounded by affect humans and dolphins.

The distorted sounds of pile driving, ferries and mammals in motion are the reverberating effects. And Hurrel has made an aqua-marine light show which is projected each evening in a work collaborated on by the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen

Brighton Digital Festival, various venues, Brighton, until September 30

Swimming with plankton in 3D inside a museum, coded cabinets of curiosities, solar-powered pigs and the potentially chilling truth about how our computers know us better than we know ourselves...it's hard to know where to start with the litany of inventiveness making up this year's Digital Festival by the seaside.

Hack conventions, mass gaming sessions and a programme of talks are sure to please the hardcore. And a major exhibition by anime wizard David Blandy is one of the exhibition highlights.

, Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham, September 5-30

The Playhouse's transformation into a digital arena take Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest as a starting point, and its ambitions get loftier from there. For starters, Deconstructed Metaverse uses a series of "access points" to turn the top floor into an entirely new virtual world, powered by a single microchip.

Mirror on the Screen creates an enchanted virtual forest through a telematic film set (a TV you can step into, with your face applied to an avatar), and artist Brendan Oliver projects the skeletal movements of visitors around the space, having converted them into computer-generated particles.
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