‘Painting Energies’ Podcast Explores Light and Energy at the Intersection of Art and Science

A new podcast hosted by physicist Janne Halme and artist Bartaku explores the connections between light and color, plant and microbe, art and science. Building on their visionary artscience workings that have been evolving at Aalto University since 2017, the Painting Energies podcast is not to be missed for any scientist, artist or student looking to find new ways of combining art and science.

To make paintings that produce electricity is a feat of both scientific and artistic imagination. That is exactly what physicist Janne Halme and artist Bartaku achieved with their Blck Vlvt – an interpretation of a J.M.W. Turner painting in plant-based colors on dye-sensitized solar cells. The result is pure artscience: a thoroughly engineered piece of specialized components, realized in an artistic manner, generating both electricity and aesthetics. The Blck Vlvt project, which culminated in the creation of the solar mosaic painting in 2020, instilled in its authors an interest in continuing their playfully serious artscience collaboration.

The Painting Energies podcast carries on the themes from the project with a similarly transdisciplinary approach. Part of the Aalto University Podcast series and comprised of eleven episodes, Painting Energies explores the connections between light, color, plants, microbes, and electrical energy. Each episode features a different guest from wildly different backgrounds and areas of expertise. The aim is to showcase the range of art—science collaboration, and its transformative potential. The podcast is a stirring and eye-opening discussion that any scientist, artist, or student interested in new ways of combining art and science is sure to find fascinating.

A mosaic of four images representing plants, colorants and painting. Features black text on white background: "Painting Energies Podcast".

Previous episodes of Painting Energies have discussed, for example, how was the dye-sensitized solar cell invented; how humans perceive color, and how plants sense and respond to sunlight.

In the latest episode, electrically conducting cable bacteria fuse the conversation with physicist Robin Bonné ranging from biological and physical properties to bioelectrical present and futures. The next episode will discuss the tensions between the visual and linguistic in art, science, and artscience. Moreover, a new perspective is offered on the paintings by J.M.W. Turner.

The Painting Energies podcast can be found on Aalto University’s Podcast site, as well as on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud and Spotify. Be sure to subscribe to not miss the new episodes!

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Painting Energies Podcast

Painting Energies is a podcast about light, colour, plants, microbes, and electrical energy. Eleven conversations with invited guests explore their relations, and our relations with them, through dialogue across science, technology, art, and philosophy.

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