Science against the wall

Author: Sofia Otero – University of Chile, Chile

Luz Fariña – Geothermal Centre of Excellence – Universidad de Chile

Science needs to go out into the public space to be socialized, and mural art is a powerful tool to popularize content in local communities: it brings information to everyday contexts, it embellishes the street, tells stories, and its creation implies the synthesis of concepts to facilitate their understanding. With the scientific-educational mural “Volcanoes of Chile”, the Andean Geothermal Centre of Excellence (CEGA) created a 300 m2 art work that was the resulting product of several conversation sessions between three graffiti artists, two geologists and a science communicator. The objective of the piece was to provoke the interest of pedestrians in what lies beneath our mountain rage, and to draw attention to our diverse geology. At the beginning, the scientists involved wanted to fit as much information as possible in the mural, the science communicator wanted to keep it simple, and the artists where still trying to understand what ‘subduction’ meant and if ‘pyroclastics’ could be represented in fluor colors or not. The final work, which is a mixture of giant infographics and hiper realistic recreations, is the result of a negotiation process where mutual curiosity and respect about each expert expertise was the clue to a successful large-scale pop science street art experiment. The mural is currently available for public school guided visits with geologists among requests, as an effort to bring the secrets of the volcanoes closer to the urban citizen.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Visual talk
Theme: Stories
Area of interest: Applying science communication research to practice