Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem
2010 – 2020 Summary Report

Interdisciplinary Science

Since the emergence of the Two Cultures theory, coined in 1959 by the British scientist and novelist C. P. Snow, there has been constant discussion and debate about the split in the western world between the sciences and the humanities. STEAM - an acronym that adds an "A" for Arts to the better known acronym STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) - was created over a decade ago, but it was only a few years ago that the EU, in the document “Science Education for Responsible Citizenship”, suggested that science education should focus on competences, on learning through science, and on shifting from STEM to STEAM by linking science with other subjects and disciplines.

The Museum continually looks for ways to combine not only the various fields of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities but also to show the connections that exist between the arts and the sciences through theater, dance, sculpture, painting, photography, and design. In recent years, artists and designers have been invited to create and display in the Museum works that address specific scientific and technological issues. In response, a number of surprising and original works have been exhibited, some of which have been presented independently, and others that have been incorporated into the overall design of the Museum's spaces.

Science Theater (Image by Avi Hayon)

Over the last decade, the Museum has displayed the work of contemporary artists in a number of exhibitions: The Other Life exhibition, which marked the 100th year since the birth of Alan Turing, presented the works of Israeli and international artists that addressed the connection and conflict between human and machine. The exhibit was displayed alongside the science and technology-based exhibition Captcha, which focused on the principles of computer science. The Agropolis exhibition- positioned next to the science and agriculture-based Fields of Tomorrow exhibits- showcases works by Israeli plastic, video, and multi-media artists that speak to the social and political implications of Israel’s agricultural technologies.

The Other Life exhibition, 2010 (Image by Daniel Alster)

The artist Inbal Hoffman presented Object Transplant - a huge work of art that deals with representations of the accumulation of knowledge, with an emphasis on botany and zoology. The artist created a sculptural environment that takes a collection of everyday objects and, in the spirit of the Renaissance’s “Cabinets of Curiosity”, gives them a surprising and humorous bent, resulting in a fantastic hybrid of scientific and domestic, botanical and bureaucratic, natural and synthetic. The artist Lola (Elian) Kaczka created huge cardboard sculptures that 'come to life' with the help of lighting and video projections, as well as the impressive cardboard backdrops and structures that contributed to the "Only Cardboard" festival and the "Renaissance" event, which took place during the Leonardo's Questions exhibition.

Exhibit from Object Transplant exhibition, 2017 (Image by Inbal Hofmann)

Leonardo's Questions featured a number of particularly surprising and intriguing works by the Maker community. Maker Guy Hadani, together with his friend, musician and composer Shlomi Shaban, created a mesmerizing kinetic work- FLOCK- that simulates the flight of birds accompanied by original music. Another impressive design work, created by the Maker Itamar Mendes Flor- who previously exhibited at the museum- expressed the craftsmanship of the Renaissance in the form of a giant glider, built from the original drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.

Shlomi Shaban and Guy Hadani's kinetic work - Flock, 2019 (Image by Yael Ilan)

One of the Museum’s strategic partners is the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. For several years, the Museum collaborated with their Department of History and Philosophy to hold an annual conference, in which various, thought-provoking, and complex themes were broached though the interfaces of art, science, design, and technology. Students from Bezalel are often invited to present their work- for inclusion into the Museum’s exhibits, or to address a specific scientific or technological issue and respond to it artistically. For example, students from the Department of Industrial Design were invited to take part in a creative workshop, whose products were presented in Transparent  Light exhibition that ran in parallel to the Innovation Ltd. exhibition. Every year, students in the model course create and present work that pertains to the Museums’ main theme that year. The Museum also hosts Bezalel’s “Hack-a-thons”. In recent years, the Museum has begun to tie-in the Hack-a-thon with its concurrent events; for example, the Hack-a-thon that took place during the spring festival "Only Cardboard" involved the planning and design of disaster-resilient buildings, made only of cardboard.

Bezalel's Only Cardboard Hack-a-thon, 2018  (Image by Adi Kaufman)

The phrase “science theater” may sound strange and incongruous, but the Museum is convinced that drama and humor can be used to teach science and technology in creative ways- to enrich the educational experience, and to reach the learner though a variety of channels. The Museum puts on science theater performances both in the Museum and in the community. Each of the performances is either a cultural event in and of itself, or takes place as part of a broader program. The well-known brand, “Dr. Molecule”, was created in the Museum by actor and director Uri Weil. Dr. Molecule’s theater performances- designed to entertain and educate the whole family about various scientific topics- are staged at the Museum and around the world.

Dr. Molecule at the Jerusalem Mini Make Fair, 2019 (Image by Daniel Elior)

The Forum Theater, that the Museum imported from the UK, is a model that encourages viewers to take part in the show, to ask questions, and to help decide how the show will end. These productions were hugely successful; notable hits included Against the Current, about electricity and the environment, and How Many Scientists Do You Need to Make a Cup of Coffee?, a play that appealed to teenagers as well as adults about raising female representation in the fields of science and technology and latent biases in public perceptions. And especially for preschoolers, we produced several original and popular plays in collaboration with artists and actors from The School of Visual Theater, including Cartonella and Plastictiva.

Forum Theatre - Against the Current, 2010

The power of engineering, the truth of science, the freedom of art, and the imagination of design.

Jie Qi (Research Affiliate at MIT Media lab)

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Interdisciplinary Science
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Science Across Boundaries
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