StellrScope: Swirling art and science

    Press/Media: Press / Media


    A germ of an idea that was nurtured by the CSIRO is reaping eye-popping results for an artist and her scientific colleagues.

    Period06 Aug 2013

    Media coverage


    Media coverage

    • TitleStellrScope: Swirling art and Science
      Degree of recognitionNational
      Media name/outletAustralian Broadcasting Corporation
      Media typeRadio
      Duration/Length/Size3 minutes (Approx.)
      DescriptionA germ of an idea that was nurtured by the CSIRO is reaping eye-popping results for an artist and her scientific colleagues.

      Eleanor Gates-Stuart won the Centenary of Canberra Science Art Commission and is the Science Art Fellow at the CSIRO. Her giant bug images were projected onto Questacon as part of the 2013 Canberra Enlighten Festival.

      Inspired by the story of William Farrer, the "father of the Australian wheat industry", she's created a new exhibition Stellrscope, now on show at Questacon. "The strength of wheat in Australia ... the whole
      economy's grown through wheat," she says. "And I spent quite a lot of time in the National Library ... I actually went to read all his letters and I got hooked."

      A century of wheat
      William Farrer released his Federation wheat in 1903, a new strain which trebled production in Australia. His research experiments were conducted at Lambrigg, the family property near Tharwa in the ACT.
      Eleanor has used projected light, holograms and other state of the art technology to bring the story of wheat to life.

      Projected images
      CSIRO research engineer Matt Adcock says some of the techniques are based on applications used for telehealthand mining technologies. In one installation, a floor grid produces different
      images of wheat as people walk on the surface. Another - the "3-D volumetric display" - shows images projected onto a box of strings.
      Each hanging string is lit up to provide a 3-D effect.

      Bit of magic
      Matt says they "wanted to give people something a bit different and let them come in and say 'How did they do that?' So there 's a bit of magic involved."

      Eleanor is particularly proud of the two Stellrlumes (created in collaboration with Pufferfish Ltd) - domes lit with projected images that shift when a hand is held over, revealing different images beneath.

      "When you first see the dome it's a beautiful image of a section of wheat but it actually looks like a beautiful flower - the colours are rather seductive and it's curvaceous." Eleanor explains. "And this story changes...If we put our hand over you might just get a little bit of William Farrer's diary or there may be [an image of] a piece of bread."

      Imagination and ideas
      Eleanor used a traditional method - an official CSIRO laboratory notebook - to communicate her ideas to her colleagues, filling pages with jottings and diagrams.

      Music for the exhibition is by Canberra composer Marlene Radice who was inspired by the organic structure of wheat and concepts of time, change and cyclic rotation.

      In a paper written to explain the benefits of the art/science collaboration, Art and Science as Creative Catalysts, the team arguesthat with the right approach and attitude collaborators can combine creativity and innovation to access new areas of imagination and ideas.
      David Lovell is Director of the Australian Bioinformatics network and co-leader of CSIRO's Transformational Biology initiative. "The magic thing about this collaboration," he says, "is that if you put the right kind of artist in the the mix all of these wonderful ideas start happening."
      Producer/AuthorLouise Maher
      PersonsEleanor Gates-Stuart, Matt Adcock, David Lovell, Marlene Radice


    • Science and Art
    • Innovation
    • CSIRO
    • Questacon
    • Centenary of Canberra
    • William Farrer
    • Wheat Innovation
    • collaboration