[spectre] Art(s, Sciences) and Anarchy

ruben coen cagli ruben.coencagli at na.infn.it
Tue Feb 28 15:02:53 CET 2006

hi, I would like to give my small contibution to this interesting
discussion  with a quote from a book I am reading in these days, "Art and
Anarchy" by Edgar Wind, 1963. I have the italian edition, so I will
translate it back, sorry.. I hope the result will be not too much far from
the original contents..
best, ruben

from Lecture 2 (Aesthetic Participation):

[...] Given that science has become the contemporary beast (orco), and
that it can be used as the scapegoat for all of our misdeeds, we are
always tempted to affirm that art has been put in a marginal position by
the intervention of science, or, if not of science alone, of its
conjunction with a form of buisiness that promotes the fastest and widest
possible distribution in all the fields.
[...] The poet is always an agent in this course of things, where she/he
considers her/himself just as a victim.
This rule is also valid for the marginal position of art today. Art has
been displaced from the center of contemporary life, not only due to the
applied sciences, but mostly to its own centrifugal impulse. Since the mid
19th century and before, people create and enjoy art on the basis of  the
following assumption: that the artistic experience will be the more
intense as it is able to separate the spectator from her daily habits and
[...] (then there is a number of examples) [...]
One could say that this condition is not new, nor unusual; the creative
energy always had the effect of transforming or sharpening the perceptive
habits. Nevertheless, in the past, when artists were actually in contact
with the world of action, their innovations - even if terrific or
revolutionary - were produced as a side effect, with respect to the vital
goals that art had to pursue; on the other hand, today the artistic
invention is self referential. Art has become "experimental".
It is noteworthy that this word "experiment", coming from the laboratory
of the scientist, has moved to the artist's studio. It is not a casual
metaphora: because, even if today artists have a scientific knowledge that
is far less than they had in the 16th or 17th century, their immagination
seems to be obsessed by the desire to mimic scientific procedures; we can
often see them moving in their studio as if they were in a laboratory,
executing a series of controlled experiments, in the hope to find a
solution which is scientifically valid. And when this austere exercises
are exhibited, the spectator is reduced to the condition of an observer;
an observer that observes with interest, but without any vital
participation, to the last excursion of the artist. [...]

(pages 35-39 in the italian edition)

Geert Lovink said:
> 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

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============== ~(R)~ ==============
|| Ruben Coen Cagli
|| PhD student in Physics, University of Napoli, Italy.
|| visit my website http://people.na.infn.it/~rcoen
============== ~(R)~ ==============

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