Pamela Theodotou: Bringing Science to Art & Art to Science

Pam Theodotou (CCAD MFA 2013) is – in a word- amazing. She is a photographer, filmmaker, writer, sculptor, ceramicist, owner of the film company NYXFILM, and the Media Specialist at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. This year, Pam presented at the Ecological Science Association 100th Anniversary Conference, and in October her film, Byrd 1933, will be premiering at The Wexner Center. Next week we’ll be featuring an in-depth post on the film, but this week, find out more about Pam’s work as OSU’s Media Specialist and her passion for bringing together the art and science communities.

A few weeks ago you presented a workshop called “Breaking the Ice with STEAM: Synthesis, Innovation, and Improving Scientific Outreach through Artistic Collaboration” at the Ecological Science Association 100th Anniversary Conference in Baltimore. Could you talk about what the workshop focused on?

“The workshop is based on the premise that what scientists and artists do in their process is not all that different. In fact it is remarkably similar in discipline. There is a lot of experimentation and process involved. Also, science as a field suffers from a severe lack of outreach and communication. We see this in a lot of the disinformation and manipulation that has come about in the deniability of climate change. The workshop was created to help like-minded scientists and artists, who are realizing that they can help each other through working together, and give them opportunities and structure in which to collaborate.”

You are the Media Specialist at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at OSU. Can you describe what that occupation entails?

“As a Media Specialist I touch all aspects of media in my daily process. Sometimes it’s writing and producing films and other times it is collecting and crafting footage by scientists to provide media outlets like the BBC or Chinese National Television footage. I also try and bring concepts to our scientific groups on how to better capture media. For instance, I suggested we bring in Go Pros so that Scientists can capture better footage in the field. Now we have a program for Go Pro field kits that travel to the ends of the earth and bring back beautiful images of our planet that I get the pleasure of editing back in my studio.”

In October you’ll be teaching, “Shooting Videos and Photos Like the Pros” at the Byrd Polar Research Center. Is this geared towards artists, scientists aspiring to improve their photographic skills, or both?

“The workshop is for anyone who would like to attend, but it generally is to assist our scientists in upping their media game. It’s meant to help them use media effectively to capture what they do and to aid them in communicating their results through documentary film making, but also so that they can increase their media footprint to be attractive to grant giving organizations to further research. We welcome artists as well, because like the workshops at the ESA, we love to connect these disciplines so they can help each other. You never know where a collaboration will be fruitful. As an example I met Dr. Jana Rhea Waldman at the ESA who is doing flight research with bats. We are currently collaborating on a video and sculptural installation that will reflect her scientific work at Brown University and Iowa State. Bats look like swimmers in the air, and their graceful aerodynamics are being translated into artistic expressions of hard data in that project. We are expecting not only to generate flight patterns and air as solid sculptural forms but also interpret flight physiology of these animals into video reflecting their wing movement and patterns.”

From

From “China: The Open Door 1985.” Photo courtesy www.theodotou.com.

From

From “Infared: 1996-2002.” Photo courtesy www.theodotou.com.

To find out more about Pam’s work, visit her website here!

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