Barbara Zeigler

Barbara Zeigler
University of British Columbia


Barbara Zeigler is an artist and associate professor, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and supervisor of the UBC Printmedia Research Centre. Working in printmaking, photography, drawing, installation, and collaborative public art projects, her artwork seeks to prompt questions as to the character and consequences of our existing cultural paradigms.

Academic Paper

Positioning: Art and the Life Sciences
This inquiry focuses on multidisciplinary print-based research projects in which the life sciences have played an essential role. Motivations for approaching scientists and establishing various kinds of working relationships are discussed, as are some of the benefits that may be derived from such collaborations. Often located in an intermediary space between art and science, difficulties the artwork produced may confront in the positioning, or lack thereof, within contemporary critical discourses are investigated.

Concerns related to the increasingly popular “art and science” classification are explored that, while attempting to imply that a new synthesis is occurring, may be perpetuating a binary way of viewing knowledge. Selected art/science initiatives by educational and research institutions normally focused on art or on science are noted. The need for an open mindedness regarding what constitutes valid critically informed art/science research, and for an increased understanding of the ways such inquires may benefit both society as well as the evolving distinct and mutual discourses within art and science, is proposed.

At a time of rapid scientific discovery, daily evidence of climate change, habitat destruction, and an unprecedented rapid depletion of natural resources, there is an urgency to many current multidisciplinary explorations, and a necessity for people in all fields to communicate more with one another to try to understand and confront the pressing issues we collectively face.