I cannot remember when in my life I for the first time heard anything
about the Two Cultures, of Snow origin.
Whwnever and wherever it may have been, my bet is: Stuttgart and Max
Bense. He was, of course, thrilled by the text of the paper and talk,
and the discussion that emerged from it. It probably was that
two-cultures debate that he told his audience about.
A later edition of the original speech, Snow's later second thoughts,
and much from the international debate was published in German out
of Stuttgart (Helmut Kreuzer as editor).
What I do remember, however, is that ever since this debate has been
on my mind. Ihave refered to it in countless talks and lectures. In a
superficial way, I am afraid, and without understanding it well
As it happens, I have just returned on this Saturday evening to my
university office from a course on Processing that went through the
entire day, and will continue tomorrow, Sunday. I am offering it at
the School of Art and Design here in Bremen. Participants are
registered in the Masters' and Bachelors' programme in Digital Media.
At least 50 % of them are international students, the rest are
Germans. There was an opportunity today to briefly refer to Snow.
The artist, this remark of mine claimed in an exaggeration, does what
he wants to do and comes up with a personal statement that, in
principle, is of no interest to anyone in the world. The scientist,
the coarse statement continued, does what is needed in the context of
his particular little aspect when observing the world, and he or she
comes up with a result of general validity. This generality is, of
course, of a relative nature only, and there is more subjectivism to
the result than we usually think. Nevertheless: singular and
particular vs. encompassing and general.
Your story of Snow, Themerson, and that Common Room is marvellous. I
had never heard of it. Did C.P. Snow come there? Was it a British
institution or did visitors from abroad come and join? Did artist
enter the room? Is anything known of controversies that happened
Thank you for telling us, dear Jasia.
Prof. Dr. Frieder Nake
Informatik, University of Bremen, PO Box 330440, D-28334 Bremen, Germany
or: University of the Arts, Am Speicher XI 8, D-28217 Bremen
(for parcels use: FB 3, University of Bremen, Bibliothekstrasse,
D-28359 Bremen, Germany)
fon +49-421-218 3525 or +49-421-9595 1267 fax +49-421-218 4322
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