The Singapore Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience held a conference on the 26th and 27th of September. While the main conference was a forum for Singaporean scientists with an interest in brain function to discuss recent advances in their work, a large part of the programme was aimed at engaging with the wider public.

In a first event of its kind in Singapore, and as a means of engaging the public, the conference featured art that has been created as a result of interaction between Singapore-based artists and scientists. We call this first segment of the collaboration “Art Infiltrates Science”.

In a second instalment of the project, the artists will once more showcase the art created in response to the conversations they’ve had with their respective collaborator in neuroscience. The 4 Artists have teamed up with scientists to throw a fresh view on their questions, methods and interests. Taking a fresh view on what scientists bring to society, the artists represent the layperson’s view of what happens in the lab.

The artists are Singapore artists Debbie Ding, Rush Rubin and ila and French artist Isabelle Desjeux. The project is led by Isabelle Desjeux.

Location: The Substation Gallery. 45 Armenian Street.

Timings: 22nd October – 27 October. 11am-7pm daily.

Artists: Debbie Ding / ila / Rush Rubin / Isabelle Desjeux

Curated by Isabelle Desjeux

There is no official opening for the show, only an informal opening on Monday 21st October, 7pm.

One, or more artist will be present at all time during the show. For a personalised tour, contact Isabelle Desjeux (92734991) in advance.

An artist walk-through will take place on Saturday 26th Octobre 4-6pm


Teams’ bio:

Debbie Ding (DBBD.SG) is a visual artist and technologist who researches and explores technologies of perception through personal investigations and experimentation. Prototyping is used as a conceptual strategy for artistic production, iteratively exploring potential dead-ends and breakthroughs–as they would be encountered by amateur archaeologists, citizen scientists, and machines programmed to perform roles of cultural craftsmanship–in the pursuit of knowledge.

DBBD received a BA in English Literature from the National University of Singapore and, as a recipient of the NAC Arts Scholarship (Postgraduate), an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, London. She has had solo exhibitions at The Substation Gallery, Singapore (2010) and Galerie Steph, Singapore (2013). Notable group exhibitions include “After the Fall” (National Museum of Singapore 2017); Singapore Biennale (2016); Radio Malaya (NUS Museum, 2016); Unearthed (Singapore Art Museum, 2014); Engaging Perspectives: New Art from Singapore (NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, 2013); Primavera (Immanence, Paris, 2012). She currently lives and works in Singapore.


Debbie teamed up with Associate Professor Dr Suresh Jesuthasan. Suresh obtained an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, California, in 1990. His interest in biology was spurred by two summers spent at the Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey. He then went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where he obtained a D. Phil. in Zoology working in the laboratory of Julian Lewis and collaborating with Phil Ingham’s lab. During this time, he spent two summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, learning microscopy and embryology. Suresh began experimenting in neuroscience during a four-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tuebingen, Germany, in the department of Friedrich Bonhoeffer. He currently runs a lab in the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at NTU, and is interested in understanding how emotional states, especially fear and anxiety, are generated.

Rush Rubin Rush Rubin is a multidisciplinary artist and content visionary based in South-east Asia. His artistic practice began in 2002 and has continued to develop and evolve while reflecting contemporary concepts and cultural advances. Rubin’s creations are influenced by a great amount of things such as urban aesthetics, blue-collar mannerism, hood mentalities and popular culture just to highlight a few. These are mostly elements that surround his daily environment and Rubin finds the act of being inspired by said elements to be a sincere approach to creativity. Ultimately, his goal is to keep things fun, mischievous, relatable and necessary.

Today, Rush Rubin serves as the CEO and Co-Founder of the record label, LEFTMIND INTERNATIONAL, and is also actively engaged as an artistic director on ad hoc basis by various entities. It is hoped that a gene will one day be named after Rush Rubin in honour of his service to nothingness.

Rubin teamed up with Dr Ajay Mathuru. Assistant Professor Ajay Mathuru received his Bachelor’ degree in Science (Genetics, Microbiology and Chemistry) from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India in 1996. In 1998, he was awarded the university gold medal and a Master’s degree in Life Sciences (Plant Sciences) at the University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.

During his Master’s programme, Asst Prof Mathuru spent a summer studying olfactory conditioning and odour-evoked behaviours in Drosophila melanogaster larvae in the late Professor Obaid Siddiqi’s laboratory in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India which culminated in a lifelong interest in neuroscience. During his PhD in neuroscience at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India, he studied the coupling of biophysical and biochemical agents at the hippocampal synapses with Upi Bhalla.

He developed an interest in addressing neuroethological questions using zebrafish and moved to Singapore in 2006, to work with Suresh Jesuthasan, first at Temasek Lifesciences Labs, then at Duke-NUS/A*STAR as a Research Fellow. Prior to joining Yale-NUS, he worked as a Senior Research Fellow at IMCB, A*STAR, where he continued to study neural mechanisms underlying natural behaviour.

ila is a visual and performance artist who works with found objects, moving images and live performance. She seeks to create alternative nodes of experience and entry points into the peripheries of the unspoken, the tacit and the silenced. With light as her medium of choice, ila weaves imagined narratives into existing realities. Using her body as a space of tension, negotiation and confrontation, ila creates work that generates discussion about gender, history and identity in relation to pressing contemporary issues.

ila teamed up with Shyam Prabhakar from the Genome Institute of Singapore. Dr. Prabhakar has a long career in genome science, and was a major contributor to recent work on the epigenetic basis of autism. More information can be found at

Isabelle Desjeux is a  French artist living in Singapore since 1999, has a PhD in Molecular Biology and a MA in Fine Arts. Recipient of the French Singapore New Generation artists in 2011, she has collaborated with scientists from various countries and exhibited her work internationally (Singapore, Japan, USA).  She is the recipient of the Lasalle Fieldwork Research grant for her work on “The Lost Malay Scientist” (2017) and a member of The Artist Village (TAV, Singapore) since 2019.

Desjeux is interested in understanding how science is made and knowledge is acquired, by scientists, students or children and by extension the public at large. Her installations and video installations often recreate laboratories and place the viewer in the position of the scientist conducting the experiment.

Isabelle teamed up with researchers Dr Xu Sangyu and James Stewart.

Xu Sangyu was awarded A*STAR NSS Scholarships; she did undergraduate studies with Charles Zuker at the University of California, San Diego, and her doctoral studies in the laboratory of Susumu Tonegawa at MIT. Currently working in  Adam-Claridge’s Lab at IMCB since September 2017, Sangyu is working on several neuromodulation projects.

James did his bachelor studies in mechanical engineering at Cardiff University. His doctoral studies, also at Cardiff, were in the use of expert systems and neural networks for the analysis of hydraulic systems. Since then he has worked in a variety of engineering fields, most recently as Principal Engineer at Singapore Technologies Kinetics and Sieva, Pte Ltd. He has extensive experience in instrumentation and was the first Certified LabVIEW Architect in the ASEAN region.

This exhibition is funded by National Arts Council P&P Grant and by the Singapore Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.

For further information, please contact exhibition organiser and curator Isabelle Desjeux at