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R.A.T. (Rodent Activity Transmission)

A series of street art workshops, a website and app, and art exhibition that enables the public to see into the lives of a colony of naked mole rats.

Naked Mole Rat
  • School/Institute/Department: The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
  • Subjects: Naked Mole Rats, Digital Art, Evolution, Biology
  • Audience: Animal Lovers, Arts Partners, Science Enthusiasts, Digital Artists

Naked Mole Rats (NMRs) are unique among mammals, with unusual features that result from extreme adaptations to living underground. The study of these animals can inform us about more general biological principles of wide importance.

QMUL are about to start tracking a colony of NMRs 24/7, and this project aims to engage the public in this research by presenting the real-time data in a playful, yet informative way using exhibitions, workshops and online technology.

A series of street art workshops about NMRs that will produce visual interventions across the Queen Mary campus and beyond. The same concepts will reach a wider audience through the R.A.T. app, acting as a direct visualisation and audio visual art work, hosted on a website which contains access to educational information and directions on how to make your own observations from real-time data.

Finally, an art exhibition will enable people to physically encounter data through 'soft robots' – moving sculptures that move in an organic way in response to the live naked mole rat colony. The artworks take the world of data visualisation away from the screen and into the real world.

This project received large award funding from the Centre for Public Engagement.

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