The Invisible Observer is a newsletter created by Scale Free Network, art-science collaborative.
Scale Free Network – Art-Science Collaborative
Issue No.12 — December 2016
The Invisible Observer is a newsletter created by Scale Free Network.
It focuses on our exploration of invisible microscopic worlds and collaborative adventures in the world of art, science, education and publishing.


Life in Earth

Small Friends Books: 2016 and beyond...

We are thrilled to officially announce that our next two books in the Small Friends series will be set in the dynamic and mysterious world of soil. Between October and December: Aviva, Briony and Gregory began researching the two new symbiosis story topics, visiting scientists at the University of Queensland, the University of Arizona, the Technische Universität München and Helmholtz Zentrum München. More about our research mission here. We will continue our collaboration with writer Ailsa Wild and Prof. Linda Blackall on these stories, with support from the Australian Society for Microbiology.

Since launching our graphic novel The Invisible War in August, we have sold over two thirds of our first edition (largely thanks to a recent distribution boost from Scholastic’s Australian Standing Orders program!). We have also nearly sold out of the second edition of The Squid, the Vibrio & the Moon and the first edition of Zobi and the Zoox (that’s 6,000 copies since 2014...not bad for a micro-publisher :)

Thank-you to Rachel Fetherston for the stellar article A Symbiotic Life about Scale Free Network and Small Friends Books, featured by Wild Melbourne this week!


Microscope Drawing
School Holiday Workshops

The Royal Society of Victoria hosted Scale Free Network for two days of September school holidays art and science-based activities.
In the society's beautiful 19th century building, groups of children (ages 6-12) participated in a full day interdisciplinary program of Microscope Drawing and Symbiosis Storytelling activities.
Special thanks to Helen Gardiner and Ann Bohte from the University of Melbourne for kindly organising the loan of stereo microscopes for these workshops!


Drawing on Complexity
Visit to Santa Fe Institute

In November, SFN co-founder Briony Barr was invited to present her art-science project, Drawing on Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) in New Mexico.

This was a great honour as SFI is considered the world-headquarters for complexity science. This independent research and education centre endeavours to understand and unify the underlying, shared patterns in complex physical, biological, social, cultural, technological, and even possible astrobiological worlds.

More about Briony's practice


Drawing from the Microscale
News from the North
SFN Northern Rivers (Jacqui Smith in collaboration with Frauke Huhn) set up a Microscope Drawing Laboratory in Mullumbimby in the October school holidays, where the 'invisible' world was explored as inspiration for art making.
Comprised of a series of workshops, an open day and an exhibition at the Mullumbimby Library, the project was well supported by the local community forging creative connections between enthusiastic young art-scientists from the region. Thanks also to Arts NSW for their financial support.


Human Scale Particle Chamber
New work in the pipeline
For the 2017 program of Experimenta Make Sense: International Triennial of Media Art, SFN have been commissioned to develop a new work, with funding support from City of Melbourne.

Experimenta is a prominent Australian media arts organisation, curating contemporary art that intersects with digital media, science & technology, and design.

SFN plan to create an interactive work inspired by one of the great unsolved mysteries of science - turbulence!


Drawing on Coral
Embodying Symbiosis

Aviva, Briony and Gregory hosted a session at the Australian Earth Laws Alliance conference in Brisbane on October 21.

After a reading of our coral symbiosis story Zobi and the Zoox, conference delegates were invited to cooperate as a group through a process-based, art-making experience that embodied an interdependent, symbiotic community.

Scale Free Network supports the emerging Rights of Nature movement, and will continue to advocate for the rights of microbes alongside their larger partners and habitats.


Rights for the Reef illustrations
February 2017
ArtPlay, Melbourne
 At ArtPlay on February 5, SFN's Jacqueline Smith will collaborate on a new workshop with Frauke Huhn, bringing together science, art, drama and movement to explore the micro-world. Gregory and Briony will also present their Rights for the Reef workshop, developed with Aviva Reed and presented in collaboration with Professor Linda Blackall.
Australian Comic Arts Festival, Canberra
Gregory Crocetti and illustrator Ben Hutchings will be signing copies of The Invisible War on Sunday February 19. More details.

"If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life:  worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds...
Given only the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long."


Wendell Berry,  The Unsettling of America, 1977
Scale Free Network – Art-Science Collaborative
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