Simeon Nelson’s interdisciplinary practice spans over sculptures, installations and time-based works that offer insights into pattern, perception and systemic connections between art and science. His practice involves collaborations with musicians, programmers and scientists on interdisciplinary projects with leading arts organisations like Artichoke and funders including the Wellcome Trust, The Arts Council and the EU.
Nelson’s work is conceptually underpinned by developments in quantum, chaos and complex systems theory that continue to revolutionise the human and physical sciences. In contrast to an out-dated, mechanistic worldview these developments envision an organic, inter-relational and ceaselessly creative cosmos, imbued with value and agency, calling for the people’s ethical engagement. Binary categories such as mind and matter, subject and object are reframed as vantage points within unified experience. Ideas informing this approach, for example: autopoiesis (Varela), holarchy, (Koestler) agential materialism, (Barad), radical empiricism (James), elan vital (Bergson) and philosophy of organism (Whitehead) share an apprehension of humanity and nature as a divisible whole.
The works are organised around geometric and iterative systems in which the parts are nodes in a network. For example, Desiring Machine 2008 and Cosmoscope 2017-19 display nested hierarchies of scale and dimension, lines, planes and volumes, in combination with time-based light and sound elements that speak to each other - parts that only make sense in relationship to each other and their constitutive whole. This gestalt has the characteristics of a complex adaptive system in the way the parts interact and different patterns emerge depending on the viewers position.