Caroline van Eck
‘Camouflage Research: A State of the Art’

Peter Forbes
‘Drawing the World. The Art and Science of Mimicry’

Animals and plants are patterned to have designs on other animals and plants: to reproduce, to capture or evade capture. The patterns they exhibit in this empire of signs cross the plant/animal divide, are often judged beautiful by humans, and are used as source material for their own pattern making. The talk draws widely on artists and scientists who have drawn out and exploited these connections, and delves beneath the surface to explain some of nature’s processes that underlie these phenomena.

Image: Abbott Handerson Thayer, Richard S. Meryman, Peacock in the Woods, study for book Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, 1907, oil on canvas, 45 1⁄4 x 36 3⁄8 in. (114.9 x 92.4 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the heirs of Abbott Handerson Thayer, 1950.2.11