Collegium Helveticum

Bubbles, Droplets, Membranes, and Interfaces
Materials Science Meets Visual Arts


Venue and accessibility: Exhibition space Gallery, Collegium Helveticum

Opening hours:
April 3–21, 2023
during weekdays 14:00–16:30
closed on weekends, April 7, and April 10

Please note that the exhibition room has limited capacity. A maximum of four visitors can visit the exhibition at the same time.

The exhibition Bubbles, Droplets, Membranes, and Interfaces was created as part of a workshop at the Collegium Helveticum organized by Cari Dutcher and Jan Vermant. On March 28, 2023, scientific and engineering group leaders met with artists to connect the fields of research on soft interfaces and multiphase systems with a wide range of disciplines and applications, such as food, biology, environment, and beyond. The emphasis of the talks was on methods used for research that can lead to visually intriguing results. The exhibition “Bubbles, Droplets, Membranes, and Interfaces” displays a collection of posters that navigate the field between science communication, graphic design, and the visual arts. While some of these posters stay true to conventions from the sciences, others start to break those norms, with some veering farther into abstraction.

This exhibition is thus also a commentary on the poster exhibition as an important format in science communication. At scientific meetings, researchers present their work in front of their posters and discuss their findings interactively with a larger community. While the methods and ideas behind experimental studies are often exploratory, the purpose of the visual design of such posters is the transferring of key information. As such, scientific posters mostly follow a standardized form of presentation. This approach differs from that of the visual arts, which often emphasizes graphic exploration to find new ways of presenting information and to trigger the viewer’s aesthetic curiosity.

Alongside this poster exhibition, Nadya Suvorova, an interactive media artist and keynote speaker at the workshop, showcases the artwork Interactive Structuring of Flows. Connecting science and art, the interactive sketches are inspired by the work on structuring flows by Tazio Pleij and Martin Hofmann, both members of the Soft Materials group at the ETH Zurich led by Jan Vermant. The sketch was made in the context of the project Future of Materials, an online platform that features and presents the most inspiring materials from scientific labs to a wider audience. Future of Materials will be available in Spring 2023 under

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