Culture24/7: Festivals and felled firs in our Science and Nature picks for October

By Ben Miller | 01 October 2012
A black and white photo of a series of painted art screens standing on a sandy beach
Storyweir, by the group Proboscis, is one of the London 2012 commissions being shown at Bridport Arts Centre this month© Pete Millson
Two excellent festivals in Bradford and Manchester capture the headlines in Science and Nature this month. But if you're a little further north or south, we’ve picked a few to look out for during a packed October…

Matti Braun: Gost Log, Arnolfini, Bristol, from October 5

Who needs floorboards when you can cross a gallery on sections of a giant old tree felled from the National Arboretum?

Matti Braun’s oak-based plot leads to key creations made by the Cologne-based artist during the past 15 years, but the central work is based on an unreleased film by the Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray, originally titled The Alien.

The Wasted Works, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, from October 12

Scant consolation to kids left temporarily gap-toothed, but scientists have recently discovered that milk teeth (along with bones from joint replacements and fat from liposuction) are a potentially important source of tissue-boosting stem cells.

Wasted is a collection of artworks exploring the life-giving possibilities of these body parts, contextualising them against myths, history, the latest research and ethical issues.

David Nash at Kew, Kew Gardens, London, from October 13

Sculptor David Nash has spent 18 months working on a wood quarry in Kew's arboretum. This is the second, indoor, phase of the resulting exhibition, using natural means to turn dead trees into a series of works suggesting the environment as our “outer skin”, aided by drawings and short films.

Exploratory Laboratory, Bridport Arts Centre, Bridport, from October 13

The World Heritage Site-straddling plains of the Jurassic Coast provide the setting for this meeting of scientists and artists.

Highlights include Mat Chivers’ mirroring of seabed geology, films based on pseudomorphs and the Proboscis group’s Storyweir beach-combing adventure pitting scientific data against the words of geologists, geographers, sea swimmers, fishermen, dog walkers and other coastal admirers.

Bradford Science Festival, various venues, Bradford, October 17-21

A giant double helix in the City Park symbolises the significance of community in Bradford, a robot workshop brings Artificial Intelligence as never seen before to the Star Centre, and Bradford Town Hall swaps politicians for snakes, geckos and more.

Bradford’s Science Festival has a keen emphasis on learning for youngsters – most of the sessions are curriculum-tailored, and advance booking of sessions is strongly advised.

More Than Meets the Eye, Dundee Science Centre, Dundee, until October 21

All is not as it seems in Dundee, where optical illusions aim to spark reinterpretations of the natural world around us, from desert mirages to the colour of the moon. This new family show is a visual and mental perception-changer. Shows take place throughout the day during its three-week run.

Manchester Science Festival, various venues, Manchester, from October 27

Manchester’s playful annual fest is in robust form in its sixth year. More than 200 events are planned, from Nobel Prize winners and brain engineers to a field full of air-purifying jeans and various activities nodding to the ingenuity of Alan Turing on the centenary of the pioneering scientist’s birth.

Universities in Bolton, Salford and Manchester are all involved, as well as the Manchester Museum, Royal Northern College of Music and the Museum of Science and Industry, whose expert planners have been the key organisers.
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