‘Offshore: artists explore the sea’ an Interview with Dr Magnus Johnson

Posted on 30.12.2016

Over the last month we have interviewed artists Phil Coy and Kasia Molga about their upcoming project for ‘Offshore: artists explore the sea’ in Hull this April, but as with many of the projects we have commissioned and worked on, scientists play a central role. That’s why this week we have briefly interviewed Dr Magnus Johnson of Hull University who has been advising Phil Coy and some others artists on their respective projects.

ID: What is your field of research and how have you got involved in this project?

MJ: I’m an environmental marine biologist with eclectic interests ranging from krill to tropical ecosystems.  Currently most of my work is on crustaceans and fisheries. I guess I got involved in “arty” stuff initially through sponsoring a couple of Leverhulme Artist in Residencies at the University of Hull (Craig Vear and John Clarke) and I think Lara Goodband [Invisible Dust Curator] uses me as her “go to” marine biologist.

ID:  Is their any aspect of your work as a scientist that could be seen as artistic in anyway?

MJ:  I’m not sure we should be so narrow minded.  Science is creative, art can be very scientific.  Artist Craig Vear uses extremely technical methods for his “found sound” compositions.  I appreciate a beautifully composed abstract to a scientific paper as much as I appreciate a poem.  I did a paper recently that involved sketching and photographing the eyes of shrimps, looking in particular at a smaller extra eye called the nebeneuge.  Was the product of that examination which resulted in sketches, photos, analysis and text an artistic endeavor?

 view that paper here: https://peerj.com/articles/1176/

ID: I used to studied Biology at A-level, I found it fascinating – if you had to choose one phenomena from you field of expertise that could interest even the most indifferent person, what would It be?

MJ: The fact that shrimps blink…

Follow Magnus on twitter: @Acanthephyra

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