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Metabolon: Visual Journey Through Chlorophyll Biosynthesis


Sheffield Cathedral hosts Metabolon as part of the Festival of the Mind.

If scientific data was presented as art, what would it look like? Quite possibly something like this.

Displayed at Sheffield Cathedral

Displayed at Sheffield Cathedral

Chlorophyll is the link between sunlight and life on earth. It’s created via a complex sequence of chemical reactions. This process is usually described by complex equations and language that only scientists understand. But there is another way.

Dr Nate Adams has teamed up with artists Seiko Kinoshita and Darren Richardson to bring the scientific data to vivid life as public art.

Metabolon took 3 months to construct and 2 days to install. It consists of 8000 sheets of paper folded 84,000 times (not including spares). In addition the sculpture uses steel, wood and acrylic.

The piece was funded by grants from Festival of the Mind, the BBSRC and Arts Council England and can be viewed for free at Sheffield Cathedral every day during the Festival of the Mind.

You can also join the artists for a guided tour on:

  • Saturday 17 September, 2:00-2:30pm
  • Monday 19 September, 7:30-8:00pm
  • Wednesday 21 September, 7:30-8:00pm

Research associate Dr Nate Adams is a bit of a magician. He has made clouds form at low altitudes. He has coded robots live on stage. These days, Nate’s experiments examine the way micro-organisms interact to create the pigments of life.

Seiko Kinoshita uses traditional textile techniques to create contemporary art. You may have seen her bluebirds installation in the stairwell of the city’s Central Library.

Earlier Event: September 10
Heritage Open Day: Treasures Revealed
Later Event: September 16
London Concertante at Sheffield Cathedral