The artwork “Back together” was made by Jo Tamar Seager as part of the Creative Reactions Pint of Science ’21, in collaboration with Christos Papageorgiou, a 2nd year PhD student from the University of Nottingham.

The artwork was based on Christos’ project which is about coffee and foams. His interest in coffee grew through the years and it was his family’s cup of tea! He has many beautiful memories of his grandfather teaching him how to make the traditional Greek coffee and as years went by, he decided to focus his studies on food science and explore the principles of science to be applied to the food. 'These two things have inspired me the most', he said.

In particular, the project is about two things, coffee and foams:

'If you are drinking coffee or if you are familiar with the commercial coffee products, you might have come across the espresso coffee. On the top of freshly brewed espresso coffee, you can see a top layer of tiny bubbles called crema, a very important characteristic indicating the quality of the espresso coffee. Coffee crema is actually foam which consists of a huge number of tiny bubbles.' Christos Papageorgiou

His project aims to find which coffee makes the best and most stable foam and which molecules presented in the coffee are responsible for foam production.

Drawings and scribbles

Plan of the artwork. Jo Tamar Seager

Jo and Christos had several meetings discussing which moving images would form the final pieces of work. This artwork was made while the world was still in quarantine due to COVID-19 and thus how the coffee foam leaves the cup, meeting and joining together in the final image, has a link to how we will soon be able to see family and friends again. The idea of being able to see people again also led to the inclusion of sound.  Noises from inside cafés and coffee houses became an important addition.

You can watch some of the notes and different steps of progress of the team in this video:

For the creation of the artwork, Jo used actual coffee and the coffee foam itself! She came up with the idea of working with a range of media including painting, moving image and photography from day 1 when Christos explained the science of coffee foam and discussed ideas linked to coffee culture. She explored a range of coffees to make the foam in a variety of ways so that the coffee foam would leave the cup. It was very important for her to capture the coffee reactions in a certain way so as to become moving paintings.

Selection of tools

Tools used for the artwork creation. Jo Tamar Seager

'Making artwork inspired by Christos’ studies was an exciting and fun process and our conversations caused my artwork to change in unexpected ways.' Jo Tamar Seager

'I found the collaboration with an artist very interesting. When people from different backgrounds join forces, the outcome will be amazing. We both exchange ideas and thoughts and set the ground base for what we are presenting to you. I believe this was a very inspiring collaboration. Both fields are sharing similarities, for example, their passion to create and explore. To me this is very beautiful, meeting people, exchanging ideas and exploring new fields broadens your horizons.' Christos Papageorgiou

Cups with coffee foam

On the making. Jo Tamar Seager

Would you like to take part in a coffee foam project?

Jo would like to invite you to send in a photography of your coffee with your first name and the type of coffee you like to drink. This will go on Instagram and you can see examples on her page under @coffeecup_experiment

Share your images on social media tagging @creativerxns and #coffeecup_experiment

Jo's website and on Jo's Instagram.

If you would like to find more about Christos' work you can find him on LinkedIn or contact him at [email protected]


About this post

This blog post is a part of the Creative Reactions Pint of Science 2021 online exhibition. Throughout May and June, we will open the gallery for different examples of collaborations between art and science.