Re: [-empyre-] rethinking art&science

Jill, Felix and the art/science thang!

 Could artistic research in these fields ever be taken
>> seriously
>> as scientific research?

It depends on what is meant here by scientific research. It's clear that in
Australia at any rate art practice is starting to be taken seriously as a
research methodology - we have a national research funding body now funding
academic artistic research. Much of the language in which this funding is
couched tends to be fairly straight up empiricism - so if you are able to
twist your research hypotheses, methodologies and outcomes into that vein,
you are taken seriously. Examples include the work of Paula Dawson and
Jeffrey Shaw both of whom have been generously rewarded. This issue here,
as Felix mentions below has more to do with funding opportunities than some
credibility within the scientific community however...

I'm inclined to really break down the field of science here - it's not at
all homogeneous and certainly not beset by one methodology (as Feyerabend
suggested a while ago).  So, why do we want our art to be taken seriously
by scientists, when, if you dig around and have a look at alot of method
and practice going on in the actual lab - there's as much chaos and mess as
there is in a studio! I think it's more useful to look at specific areas of
science or even specific scientists and see who is amenable and who isn't
to working with artists/art (and what motivates them!) Once you start doing
this, you find that a whole spectrum opens up - from science and scientists
wanting to use art for cultural capital (no doubt this is going on in the
area of bioart at the moment) to scientists being genuinely interested in
the kind of problems and perspectives that artists bring for them to
collaborate on. I think where the results are positive is where artists
have a firm idea of their own history, grounding and practices and can
articulate a genuine problem that lies outside their own purview, where
they might seek other modes and methods of knowing to achieve something.
But as is the case with collaborating with a technologist - you have to
inform yourself of tyhe field at least and know how to talk to someone from
another discipline. YOu also need to respect that discipline on its own
terms - that can be difficult if you have a problem with baseline
empiricism! But it's no use going into a working situation with ideological
superiority. Mutual respect is necessary but  something that requires
constant work...
cheers anna

>A couple of days ago I was very glad to be able to attend a panel
>discussion about Art&Science at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The
>panel was chaired by Anna Munster who's contributed to the list very
>much this month - thanks Anna for also providing this insightful panel!
>In my opinion the statements of the artists who participated in the
>panel (a visual artist, two "Neue Musik" composers and a musician from
>the Kronos Quartet) showed that they did not question whether their own
>practice should be regarded as scientific or not but put their emphasis
>on the possibilities to collaborate with science while remaining at an
>art perspective.
>It has to be noted that these artists work in slightly different areas
>than most of the new media artists we have been talking about so far -
>anyway composition has been one of the first fields where technology
>and scientific methods have been introduced (still, many contemporary
>concerts bear witness to that with their introductory talks about
>technological aspects and scientific research that led to the creation
>of the sounds). Regardless, all of these artists had accomplished works
>that definitely can be labeled "media art".
>I am not sure if the only future for media art has to be an inclusion
>into the sciences. Sure enough (mediated) technology plays a key role
>in today's perception of reality. Reality is in fact just a result of
>this mediated technology. Even if this sounds a bit old fashioned
>structuralist: But why seems media art being incapable of establishing
>its identity in being different from the sciences and their
>methodology? Though there is the one big argument which makes it indeed
>necessary to fight for media arts place amongst the sciences and that
>is money spend on scientific research.
>In the past centuries art, science and philosophy have all had their
>very equal right to affect our lives by paradigm shifts within each
>discipline. None of these disciplines seemed to be superior nor
>included one of the others. Think of Galilei&Darwin for the sciences,
>Brunelleschi&Duchamps for the arts and Heidegger&Derrida for
>philosophy, as different as they may be from one another, they are all
>responsible for paradigm shifts that made their impact on our world.
>Needless to say their has been influence and friendship between all
>three disciplines at all times (at least between the greatest geniuses)
>which didn't lead to the inclusion of one into another.
>I would like to end with Paul Feyerabend who has already in 1984
>published "Science as Art". I do not recommend this book as a credo as
>it is not flawless.
>However with this book Feyerabend proposes to treat the sciences as
>arts. Of course that is problematic, too, but at least enables us to
>imagine the reversal of what we encounter today. In the book Feyerabend
>opposes an idea of sciences being superior to the arts. He concludes
>that the sciences have only been assigned their role in creating truths
>by society while the arts could (luckily) remain in the realm of
>offering multiple truths and realities. While scientific progress
>replaces former truths as non-truths the arts only know of epochs
>without rendering the past non-true.
>Now, if multiple realities seem to establish themselves as the "only
>truth" (paradox and even including non-truth in the form of an
>exception or including exclusion) does this still lead the arts into
>succumbing to the sciences?
>If there is a parallel reality to that I'd be glad to discuss where
>else art could "showcase" itself in the future.
>artist and querkopf
>empyre forum

all bodies are in a perpetual flux like rivers, and parts are entering into
them and passing out of them continuously.

Anna Munster
Lecturer in Digital Media Theory/
Postgraduate Coordinator
School of Art History and Theory
College of Fine Arts
University of New South Wales
PO Box 259
Paddington 2021

Phone: 612 9385 0741
Fax: 612 9385 0615

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