Hi Roger and YASMINERS
As a lurker on this discussion list I usually don't have much to contribute however this thread is just too delicious not to chime in.... excuse me if it is a bit long and rambling but here it goes...
It seems to me that the title of the Leonardo paper in the white paper list http://www.artslab.net/, Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Money points slyly to the core strengths that science/design/art/engineering each bring to any trans-disciplinary collaboration. Not to say the engineering can't be free, design truth, science beautiful or even art can't be a cash cow but each area seems to have a historic core strength to bring to the table. Unfortunately for me as an artist, while in some real ways the "freedom resource" that the arts and artists can and do offer is the rarest and most sought after commodity, it is also the nearly impossible to quantify. This makes the power balance here fraught at best. At worst the whole process of quantification of the artistic freedom actually kills off or stunts the most valuable asset that the Arts bring to this SEAD mix and thus art's main collaborative "utility".
> we need to re invent professional organizations in the networked
> world= maybe we need networks of networks rather than new
> organizations. Professional societies are an invention of the
> nineteenth century ( taking over from guilds etc).What is a twenty
> first century model of how emerging communities of practice can
> link to each other and be mutually supportive.
This had me considering salons - that much older intellectual networking system in which BOTH the scientific and artistic "modern revolutions" were incubated. Doesn't the networked world of Skype and google hangouts make some virtual variant at least conceivable? Maybe like Hans Ulrich Obrist, Brutally Early Breakfast Club for the SEAD heads?
"I have a horror of people who speak about the beautiful. What is the beautiful? One must speak of problems in painting! Paintings are but research and experiment. I never do a painting as a work of art. All of them are researches." (Liberman, Picasso, Vogue, November 1, 1956)
Although if I believe every exhibit is just a viewing best research results, I would love to hear/see/link to more about this exhibition symposium concept. Something here strikes me as really interesting and fruitful - maybe that could be a good format for SEAD collaboration - a regular series of virtual exhibition symposiums. I think this would give Yasminers clarity and focus.
I enjoyed reading everyone replies and then repeatedly googling the "conscilience" subtopic. I tend to think that I side with Gould argument here (although to be fair I haven't read the book reviewed) but with reservations... What if we could step back from taking sides and think of the definition of consilience itself http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience? We might find that a "feeling" SEAD community could be shared sense that there exists the hopeful possibitity that we each from our wildly different practices and perspectives COULD jump to the same conclusions/truths even as we acknowledge how difficult it may be in practice. The magic and excitement of this kind of collaboration, this kind of consilience if you will, is that we can't be sure -- could is not will. To paraphrase Clarissa Ribeiro, Can we learn how to dance the dance of "hopeful" doubt all together? I love too Ribeiro's phrase "Art is the realm from where we can play with precision. "
Her whole hybrid notion made me think of that Barbarsso line - "You're off the edge of the map, here be monsters!" --- Poincaré was right "Logic sometimes makes monsters." There seem to be unspoken cartographic presumptions behind concepts like trans-, muiti- or interdiciplinary. That most boundaries between different fields are if not clear can at least be delineated. That most overlap between fields is near the edges. Maybe too that the interstitial zones where SEAD intersect are like undiscovered countries between its known quadrants. I love maps but aren't we trying to corral the infinite into a shoebox here?
Mandelbrot said "Geographical curves are so involved in their detail that their lengths are often infinite or more accurately, undefinable." Conceptual boundaries are no different. Even if we come up totally bitching definitions of our "interdiciplinary bridges" it will only create a series of new infinite interstitial zones as large as that we just filled with our definition. We can't really measure or determine the edge of coastline without massive approximation. Thinking about this as a mapping problem got me to reread Mandelbrot classic How long is the coast of Britain? I think everyone would enjoy the reading it again - it is quite short and the end notes where he talks about difficulty and trojan horse tactics needed to get the general scientific community to even admit that what is in fact the general case "non-rectifiability in nature" is the rule and our neat rectifiable solutions are the exception.
Lastly I read this essay about Ezra Pound translations a few weeks ago which I liked and I thought might be interesting in light of both the fractal boundaries between languages and between different schools of translation.
work too hard think too much and have way too much fun,
Aprille Best GLOVER
On Jul 11, 2012, at 3:25 PM, roger malina wrote:
> let me pick on your topic of 'bridges' and consilience
> like you i think E O Wilson's concept of consilience turned out
> not to be very productive and rather totalising - am not very familiar
> with Gould's " conscilience of
> equal attention"
> but yes- one of the way to enable science/engineering to arts/design/humanities
> is to find these bridging concepts
> i have been reading recently in the field of translation studies and have
> found some interesting ideas- for instance of 'travelling concepts=
> but also the idea that un-translatability exists and one needs methods that
> are well established in cross cultural translation and now interdisciplinary
> translation ( or inter-media)
> there are bridges that are technological- when artists and scientists use
> the same tools then they start have overlapping epistemologies etc
> paul fishwick in his white paper looks at how gaming technologies are such a
> collaboration enabling tool
> one area that is fertile right now is the science of complex networks which
> has been found to be productive across the science and humanities
> I do think that we need to start being more rigorous in discussing
> collaboration - as depending on the context ( interdisciplinary, multi
> and trans-disciplinary) there need to be differing approaches- but certainly
> collaboration as a learned skill is a bridging problem also
> it would perhaps be interesting to inventory these bridge areas that are
> currently enabling collaboration between science/engineering with arts/design
> here in marseille the area of history and philosophy of science is rather
> strong and i have found some of the discussions interesting especially
> since history and philosophy of science is very disconnected from the doing
> of science in general - at lunch today we were discussing meta-mathematics
> and meta-philosophy !
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Pau Alsina <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> In the book by allen repko on interdisciplinary theory and practice
>> one of the things he does is discuss how different kinds of scientists
>> have different cultures
>> eg observational sciences like astronomy
>> vs experimental sciences like chemistry
>> vs field sciences like ecology
>> vs mathematical sciences like complex networks
>> they are all sciences but in fact the scientists have different practices.
>> does it make sense to combine them all or should we create
>> translation methods between culturs of practice ?
>> in arts and humanities we also find similar variations on how
>> the discipline deals with information about the world
>> and intervening in the world= time based arts differ
>> from architecture etc
> You mean creating "bridges"? I believe, as Loius Bec says, that art itself
> is a rare transformational agent that would do that function.
> Those other "methodological" or "epistemological" bridges are really hard
> to imagine as a universal set of tools. But of course there are
> "practice-based-theories" that migth prove better bridges than others. This
> would lead into another deep philosophical debate....(that I also enjoy a
> lot, but migth be a whole new focus of discussion)
> You migth not agree with Edgar O. Wilson's concept of consilience as it has
> proved to be reductionist, and at the end not taking seriously all fields
> of knowledge equally. But do you think that something not just theoretical
> could came out from what Stephen Jay Gould says about "conscilience of
> equal attention"? Are there already methodology or epistemology tools
> coming out from that? Some techniques or strategies for "jumping together"
> as Gould says?
> Just wondering...
>> Anway i know that the FECYT report and the process that led to
>> it was very useful in spain= as are other efforts internationally
>> for instance in the USA the mellon foundation has just funded a major
>> project to promote integrating arts practice into the research university
>> ArtsEngine National has been awarded a $500,000, 3.5 year grant from
>> the Andrew W. Mellon
>> Foundation to create the first comprehensive guide to best practices
>> in the integration of arts
>> practice in U.S. research universities. To be published in Fall 2015,
>> the guide is to identify models,
>> obstacles, implementation strategies, costs, and impact on students
>> and faculty as well as on
>> research, practice, and teaching in other knowledge areas.
>> With this award, the Mellon Foundation has enabled the national
>> network to make major progress
>> toward our mission of integrating arts practice into the research
>> This activity of course is a heads on collision between the "studio
>> based" artists practice
>> versus the research model for the arts ( and all the debate on to PhD
>> or not to PhD )
> As you already know In Europe there is the Studiolabs innitaitive
> http://www.studiolabproject.eu/ that migth work quite in the same way, am i
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> Roger Malina
> I am in France at the moment
> 33(0)6 80 45 94 47
> Announcing new version with videos of
> Leonardo EBOOK on Arts Humanities and Complex Networks
> Announcing Leonardo Party in Los Angeles during Siggraph.
> Aug 5-9 If you would like to be invited contact me.
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