[spectre] Arts and Sciences

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Tue Feb 28 09:20:18 CET 2006

Hi, why is art & science equal to 'bioart'? Why are the social sciences 
excluded in this whole debate? They are not science and who has decided 
this? The whole fixation on the figure of the laboratory engineer and 
so-called 'hard sciences' (read: real, not virtual) always fascinated 
me as to me this whole contruct is nothing but a phantasma of (certain) 
artists (and their funders such as Langois) dreaming up some imaginary 
power in society that the arts sector lost, long time ago and now 
projects onto so-called hard sciences. Best, Geert

On 27 Feb 2006, at 9:08 PM, Nina Czegledy wrote:

> dear Friends and Collagues,
> geographical context  (national or regional) as
> Simon noted, is a key determinator of art&science
> project development and dissemination.
> In Canada over the last years increased funding possibilities
> (such as the Canada Council for the Arts& Natural Sciences
> &Engineerings Research Council New Media Initiative, Artist
> in Residence for Research, Canadian Heritage, Social Sciences
> &Humanitarian Research Concil grants for artists in
> academia)  have expanded possibilities contributing to an
> increase in art and science collaborations, symposiums and
> exhibitions.The Daniel Langlois Foundation has also been
> instrumental in this movement. One example among the many:
> a grant from the Foundation for the AElab artist group contributed
> to a close, hands-on collaboration at the Nanotech
> Lab of the Chemistry Department of McGill University,
> Montreal. The detailed listing and analysis of the nature
> of these collaborations  is beyond this posting,  however
> several examples exist.
> The situation is of course very different in other
> regions, such as South America or my native Hungary.
> While these are not what one would  call "emerging countries",
> evidenced by the growing commercial development of
> bio/information or communication technologies and there is
> a definite interest in various art&science topics as shown by
> some artists working within  international collaborations
> (for example members of the  NextLab, Budapest), at this point
> - to echo Jose-Carlos Mariategui's words:" What we should do is to
> promote bioart in those countries instead of just focusing on just a
> small bunch of developed countries".  I firmly believe ( and practice
> this belief) that there is a mutual benefit for those involved in
> collaborations and promoting art&science interest via forums,
> exhibitions, exchanges and publications in countries beyond the few
> always  foregrounded in the news - will eventually lead to
> comprehensive collaborations.
> nina
>> I imagine the response to Andreas's question will be conditioned by 
>> context
>> and that this will be found to be variable from country to country and
>> region to region. In countries such as Japan, the USA and Germany the 
>> focus
>> in this area has often been on major centres, such as MIT.
>> Focusing only on the UK situation I think there is clear evidence 
>> that there
>> has been an increase in arts/science collaboration, although in 
>> typical UK
>> fashion the approach favoured tends to be decentralised and modest in 
>> its
>> ambition. There are a number of initiatives that evidence this, being 
>> a
>> mixture of the institutionally driven and those that are more 
>> grass-roots in
>> their origins. A list would include:
>> Arts and Humanities Research Council/Arts Council of England Artists 
>> in
>> Scientific Institutions Fellowship program, now in its second phase 
>> and
>> likely to iterate again.
>> Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Scientists in 
>> Artistic
>> Contexts Fellowship program, which is going through its first phase. 
>> I am
>> not sure when the outcomes of this will be made public.
>> Design in the 21st century, funded by the AHRC, an initiative in UK
>> Universities to look at interdisciplinary research programs 
>> reflecting on
>> emergent roles of art and design.
>> Artists in the Arctic, funded by ACE (I think), which places artists 
>> and
>> scientists together in a research context in the arctic region, 
>> researching
>> climate change and related issues. An ACE funded public call has also 
>> gone
>> out for a similar initiative in the Antarctic, where an artist or 
>> artists
>> will spend a time in residence as part of the British Antarctic Survey
>> Group.
>> ITEM, the FACT coordinated art/science collaborative range of 
>> projects. An
>> international conference on these collaborations, and related 
>> initiatives,
>> is to be held in Liverpool in April 2006.
>> The Wellcome Trust's annual round of grants and awards for Art/Science
>> collaborations.
>> The Arts Catalyst projects, mostly in the Space-Arts area but also in 
>> other
>> arts/science domains.
>> The initiatives undertaken by SCAN in the Southern region of the UK, 
>> focused
>> on interdisciplinary collaboration between artists and scientists as 
>> well as
>> a number of specific projects by Locus+ in the North-East region of 
>> the UK.
>> I believe there are similar regional initiatives in the South-West, 
>> the East
>> and the North-West.
>> A burgeoning number of smaller interdisciplinary research projects and
>> networks that are emerging due to the support of the relevant Higher
>> Education Research Councils between researchers and practitioners 
>> within Art
>> and Design departments and other subject areas, notably the physical 
>> and
>> social sciences, across UK universities. It is difficult to mention 
>> examples
>> here as there are quite a number and they range from the modest and 
>> informal
>> to quite large scale and highly structured 6/7 figure budget research
>> projects.
>> Intra-institutional initiatives such as iDAT (Plymouth), CARTE 
>> (Westminster)
>> and Culture Lab (Newcastle) are just the tip of the iceberg in 
>> respect of
>> the many such interdisciplinary projects and research centres 
>> springing up
>> within various universities around the country.
>> These last two categories of activity, as well as a number of the 
>> others,
>> are primarily the product of Art and Design being formally recognised 
>> as
>> research active areas in UK universities over the past decade or so 
>> and the
>> emergence of a Research Council to fund that. As always, money is the
>> driver. The continuing impact of this development on how art is 
>> taught and
>> practiced in the UK cannot be underestimated.
>> This is not an exhaustive list. I have written this off the top of my 
>> head
>> and it is unlikely that it is anywhere near complete. I have probably 
>> left
>> off some very significant examples due to a lack of research. It 
>> might be a
>> useful application of resources to commission an overview of such work
>> within the UK, and perhaps more further afield.
>> Best
>> Simon
>> On 27.02.06 11:00, Andreas Broeckmann wrote:
>>> dear friends,
>>> like others, i am aware that there is an ongoing debate about the
>>> arts/sciences relationship, and i guess there is a lot of truth in
>>> trebor's analysis of 'science' as camouflage for arts in a
>>> unfavourable funding environment.
>>> however - and please ignore this if the question is foolish - i would
>>> like to come back to the question that i originally asked, i.e.
>>> whether anybody has any evidence for an actual *increase* in
>>> art/science collaborations.
>>> the question was not meant as a form of polemics, nor did i want to
>>> put down the (critical and affirmative) examples that there are.
>>> (with regard to bio-art or space-art, for instance, the same handfull
>>> of names crop up everywhere. and with regard to the 'status' of those
>>> endeavours, i liked andrew's throught-provoking suggestion: 'I see
>>> researchers using creative means to express their work, and we may
>>> not consider this art under a limited view (could we consider bioart
>>> a science?), but culturally I think it would be important to consider
>>> a broader definition of what artistic or creative practice could
>>> involve ethnographically.'
>>> regards,
>>> -a
>> Simon Biggs
>> simon at littlepig.org.uk
>> http://www.littlepig.org.uk/
>> Professor, Art and Design Research Centre
>> Sheffield Hallam University, UK
>> http://www.shu.ac.uk/schools/cs/cri/adrc/research2/
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