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Baudouin Saintyves
University of Chicago, James Franck Institute
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

“From the Lab to the Art: Patterns Formation in Squishy Matter”

In this talk I will discuss my work involving soft matter physics and how it unfolds as both a scientific and an art practice. I will first present experimental results on soft interfaces under confinement, a setting relevant to many real-world problems ranging from adhesion to biological tissue mechanics. When subjected to load, brittle materials such as drying mud or paint, can exhibit cracks due to the small deformation at which they break. In contrast, here I will show that interfaces at very stretchable elastic materials undergoing large deformation due to pressure, shear, or drying, can exhibit very different kind of patterns, such as fingers or cavities networks. I will then introduce the performance work that I have been developing in the context of recent art residencies. “Shapes of Emergence” is a live projection based on experimental physics of self-organization, where patterns are filmed on stage in real-time. Such medium is based on the development of custom devices that merge scientific tools with music and video game controllers. I will close the seminar by introducing a new science course for artists that I have developed during my current residency at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago: “The Physics of Shapes, from Nature to the Hand”. I will show how hands-on soft matter physics can be integrated in their art practice and help their explorations, and I will discuss the challenges in a remote teaching setting.

Lab Performance @ University of Chicago/Jaeger Lab from baudouin saintyves on Vimeo.

Planets of Colors from baudouin saintyves on Vimeo.