Bojana Ginn did the inconceivable – she left her medical profession as a doctor and chose to pursue art as a vocation after graduating from SCAD with an MFA. Steeped in science, and deeply passionate about the process of creating, she found her own language of expression. Numerous art museums and mathematics conferences around the world exhibited her thought-provoking work.
I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.– Marie Curie, Physicist and Chemist, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry
Bojana’s work needs to be experienced to be fully understood. It’s a delicate thread that leads you into the world of discovery. First, you step into visual and intriguing beauty. While you discover how the work connects with you, you enter into another intimate experience. Personally, I love art that encourages me, piques my curiosity, and urges me to learn more. Bojana’s work has that impact on me – the thrill of discovery. I’m an engineer myself who is very passionate about art and creativity as well as science. Experiencing her work feels like a match made in heaven.
What was the moment when you knew that you wanted to express yourself creatively as an artist?
Art has always been with me. There is a large crayon drawing I made on the inside of our living room furniture when I was a child. My parents decided to keep it. So it’s still there, in their living room.
The Thrilling and Deep Connection of Art & Science
How do you connect art and science?
I was always fascinated with genetic code, proteins, biological entanglements, and the lines or loops of chromosomes. To me, these biological tangles resemble the art of drawing: a line becomes a loop, becomes a scribble, a knot. In short, our bodies are made out of knotted threads. The fibers intertwine and stitch together into tissues – our bones, muscles, and the entangled long neurons of our consciousness. We are homo fiber.
My sculptural explorations started with 3D drawings. Line in space, as a wire, as a tangle of wool. Of course, this is all inspired by biology. I was working then on my graduate thesis, obsessively writing about everything I was making at the studio, and expanding it into the personal language as a theory…
Then, serendipitously, I got in touch with a mathematician Radmila Sazdanovic. At the time she was developing mathematical knot theory to describe the behaviors of DNA and proteins. It was astonishing! Coming from two totally different perspectives, mine from art and hers from mathematics, our research of lines, loops, and knots as processes in time were paralleled and theoretically compatible. We collaborated on several projects while showing our work at art and mathematics conferences in the USA and abroad.
Bojana Ginn’s thoughts about the connection between art and science (continued)
Through the years, my work has changed, but the connection to biology and mathematics is still present. I will only mention that I work a lot with Voronoi Diagram which is a mathematical model in biology, medicine, artificial intelligence, and computing. The diagram is the base of my video projections and my large wool installations take the form of Voronoi cells. Looking back into the history of making art, you see that artists are very particular about the shapes they use. For example, I adore Cubism, Surrealism, and Minimalism. Personally, the Voronoi-like shape is fascinating as it merges biology and body with technology and artificial intelligence.
Wool, of course, contains protein and some traces of DNA. The same protein we have in our hair and skin. I see my works and installations as a body. Possibly a future body of environment. Like a biopsy of tomorrow. I like to stretch the wool into a translucent mass, almost smoke-like, weightless, exposing the structure of the material. Transparency is at the heart of science.
When projecting onto the fiber, I make sure that you can see pixel merge with protein. The intimacy of digital and physical, which I like to call phygital, is the time in which we live. While video editing, I synchronize the movements of the video with my breathing. It’s a form of protest against the fast-pacing, attention-grabbing rhythms of our time. The gentle flow of information, a stream of consciousness… I like to think that fiber, its color, and the paste of projections have a healing effect.
Bojana Ginn and Sustainability
Recycling and sustainability are at the core of art practice at Bojana Ginn Studio. Immersive installations and video-sculptures are composed of sheep’s wool, energy-saving LED lights, and ephemeral light projections.
Sheep’s wool is an all-natural, carbon capturing, recyclable, completely biodegradable material. Bojana sources the material from small farms across the United States. Recently, the new organic material that the studio explores is bamboo spinning fiber.
Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.– Carl Sagan, Astronomer, Scientist, Author and Poet
Bojana Ginn, what was the thought process to use organic materials?
I was raised to be ecologically conscious. Today’s movement is to eat and buy organic while also support conservation efforts. However, my mom did that in the seventies. So when I started making art professionally, choosing organic materials was a natural step forward. Wool was also always around, somehow, from my completely magical early memories from southwest Serbia to my studio in Atlanta. I rediscovered this material in a completely new light.
I have a friend who’s an artist and he’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. The beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees.
I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds.– Richard Feynman, Theoretical Physicist
Bojana Ginn – Intriguing Process of Storytelling
You have a fascinating, very complex, involved process in creating your photography art pieces. What sparked that idea?
It always puzzled me that my first work after graduating from sculpture was photography! So what happened is that after graduation I left my studio at SCAD (Savanna College of Art and Design) and came home with all of my sculptures suddenly occupying my living space. The bedroom, the dining room, underneath the table on top of the shelves… art was everywhere. My husband got this Nikon camera and I started playing, experimenting with lenses, exposure, and pressing buttons while trying different things. Suddenly, these intriguing images of sculptures in a different form on the camera’s screen were looking back at me.
My photographs become the first and foremost compelling visual experiments between light, fiber, camera, and intervention of coincidence. The photographs reveal what the eye can not see. It’s like observing the world through the eye of the computer.– Bojana Ginn
When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty…….. but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.– Buckminster Fuller, Architect, Author, Designer, Inventor, and Futurist.
There is something so special when the art form is inspired or connected to science. One discipline influences and galvanizes another. As Richard Feynman mentioned, there is more to science than it meets the eye, in beautiful phenomenologies in nature often depicted in art. Bojana has found her own creative language to connect her two passions, science in art, in an often mesmerizing, startling yet deeply expressive way.
About Bojana Ginn
Bojana Ginn is an interdisciplinary artist, former Medical Doctor, and scientist. She completed her Master of Fine Arts degree at the Savannah College of Art and Design with a focus on the connection of art and science.
Moreover, her work is shown in galleries and museums in Atlanta, New York, Baltimore, Nashville, Savanah, Berlin, Venice, and in International SciArt Conferences in the US, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Alongside her artistic practice, Ginn enjoys mentoring aspiring artists and serves as a volunteer for equestrian therapy for children.
Among many others, here are a few notable awards and shows are
- Ellsworth Kelly Award, a national by-invitation grant presented by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York.
- Finalist and exhibiting artist for the 2019 Burke Prize at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.
- 2016 Venice Architectural Biennale, co-sponsored by The European Cultural Centre and Global Art Affairs Foundation.
- For her work on the connections of art, science, and technology, Bojana was a finalist for The World Technology Award in Arts, presented by the World Technology Network, NY where she serves as a fellow.
Bojana Ginn’s work was reviewed by major publishers such as World Sculpture News Magazine, Sculpture Magazine, SciArt in America Magazine, Global Arts Affairs Foundation Catalogue, Brooklyn Rail, Arts Atlanta, and Burnaway Magazine, amongst others.
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All the artistic photographs are experiments with photographing complex fiber and light sculptures by using movement and magnifying lenses. It’s almost as if the artist is using her camera as a microscope. The results are mesmerizing abstract images in which the camera captures what the eye can not see. Inherently, in them are scientific concepts of biology and mathematics used to build Bojana’s large installations: lines, micro-knots, and entanglements. What a fascinating piece of art it is.
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.– Carl Sagan
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