collaborate. I'm a PhD student at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and
at the moment a visiting researcher at the CAiiA-Hub, Planetary Collegium,
living in Plymouth, UK. I read the conversation about art and science and
remember this interesting database:
2010/5/29 Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> It seems that this discussion is in a silent bubble....
> but perhaps there are a lot of people who still might share their
> experiences and idea's on which factors are successes and which are pitfalls
> in art-science collaborations. It's such an old discussion at the same time,
> so perhaps people might point out existing discourse? Has anyone made a
> taxonomy of different types of collaboration?
> Dear Lea,
> You wrote:
> "Jennifer, I was really interested in reading your vision about what makes
> collaborations between artists and scientists successful and how the
> goal of successful collaborations would be knowledge production. I do not
> what the percentage of collaborations between artists and scientists, which
> produce knowledge, is, but I bet it is not very high. It seems to me to be
> an ambitious task to aim for producing knowledge, even so it is undoubtedly
> sign of success.
> In my opinion, a successful collaboration is when the expectations of
> both sides (art and science) are met. [Of course, defining the expectations
> the aims of the collaboration are vital in order to produce a successful
> collaboration.] Generating knowledge would be for me going beyond the
> expectations and almost the icing on the cake (unless of course it was the
> of the project from the starting point)."
> The idea of art as a form of knowledge production is being discussed in the
> emerging field of artistic research.
> I think it is important that when scientists (academics) and artists want
> to collaborate with the aim of new forms of knowledge production, that they
> consider to formulate their research question together. So indeed having a
> collective aim at the beginning. I believe that when artists and scientists
> first get to know each others languages (for instance in a Socratic
> Discourse Bootcamp as we do with our students) they formulate questions that
> they otherwise might not do. And they can find ways of finding answers to
> the questions from several different methods that they would normally not
> try. It means that both the artist and the scientist temporarily need to let
> go of their backgrounds in order to best formulate how a question can best
> be approached.
> To give an example. We now have a group that studies the question: "Can You
> Take the Top Off of a Mountain?" A deceptively simple question at first, but
> this question allows for approaches from numerous fields. How would you
> approach this question from your field of expertise and what knowledge do
> you think it could generate when combined? As soon as you take a top off, a
> new top exists. What do you consider as the top? The highest blade of Grass?
> The structure on a building on the top? The atmosphere just above the trees?
> This approach led the group to now study possible (social and political)
> implications of Saba becoming part of the Netherlands, thereby taking away
> the official highest point of The Netherlands, which normally was in Vaals.
> They chose to combine methods of interviews with academics with the artistic
> method of found footage (video and photographs). They built a scale model of
> the height difference within the school stairway section so
> that one could experience the difference in height etc. They are now
> talking to politicians involved. They are still in the process of
> understanding the 'urgency' of such research, but already it is very
> Last year we had a group that studied public spaces at night by
> experimenting in social activities at different locations at different
> times. For instance by handing out freshly squeezed orange juice in winter
> at temperatures of - 5 C. The interaction of public at the different times
> and locations provided insight into the effects of different designs of
> public spaces at night time. It said something about how comfortable people
> felt at night in different locations.This was later found valuable by
> municipal initiatives such as Museum Night.
> I do not think that this method of working and combining is new in the
> sense of never been done before, but by allowing questions to form from a
> middle ground platform we professionalise such practice. We provide
> platforms for 'hybrid' people who could not chose between the arts or the
> sciences in their education. And Yes, I think that this is currently only
> being done by few. Acting and doing in ways that you normally do not, the
> experience, brings that edge, that extra value. There is an extra challenge
> in understanding which methods to use that are best to present the research
> results...the results themselves being perhaps not completely artistic and
> not completely scientific, but inspiring speculation that opens windows to
> new discourses.
> One successful method of finding common ground on collaboration and forming
> a combined research question we use is to ask the students from University
> and Art School to bring a set of 'rules' with them. This is done in a
> workshop by the artist and academic Tine Melzer. Any rule will do. Think
> about: 'it has to be white', 'become naked', it has to be 25 x 40 x 65 cm.
> We then mix the rules and ask them to produce work based on these rules,
> using them all. We encourage taking the rules very literal. This is a
> successful way of letting go and at the same time using your particular
> background. The rules become the glue between the different methods.
> Pitfalls are to get over our fear of 'Bad' science and 'Bad' art and just
> do. As the guest teacher Tine Melzer said to the students in her workshop.
> Lets decide later if something is silly or not, if it is art or not.
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HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: click on the link to the list you wish to subscribe to. In the page that will appear ("info page"), enter e-mail address, name, and password in the fields found further down the page.
HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE: on the info page, scroll all the way down and enter your e-mail address in the last field. Enter password if asked. Click on the unsubscribe button on the page that will appear ("options page").
HOW TO ENABLE / DISABLE DIGEST MODE: in the options page, find the "Set Digest Mode" option and set it to either on or off.