Monday, August 26, 2013

[Yasmin_discussions] Fwd: How does art science practice contribute to successful scientific practice


You make a good point

there are several ways to develop how art-science
collaborations can be of benefit to scientific research

i have been pushing on the point of whether scientists
make discoveries they would not otherwise make because
of their art-science practice=

you raise a deeper issue of how science is embedded in culture
and how art-science practice is a powerful method of cultural
appropriation and re direction or reconceptualising of science

current priorities in science funding, or the motivations that drives
individual scientists arise in a complex set of interactions between
different parts of society= i often quote the writing of helga nowotny
who calls for a 'socially robust science' - so much of science today
is like a cargo culty- society makes use of some of the fruits of
techno science-but is not actively engaged in constructing the
frameworks in the cultural imagination= one of the reasons i
am interested in citizen science and what might be called citizen
art-science is because these involve the construction of knowledge
and as you point out it's framework- not just ethical issues but values
in general-but also societal priorities

paul: re your blog

i like your talking of the

A New Trivium and Quadrivium- because it frames a question of
how education should be structured- coming back to my cargo cult
analogy- if so many of us now live in a digital cultural - as we have been
discussing coding is as fundamental as an ability as is reading , writing
arithmetic- if we want science and technology to be culturally embedded
in new ways then just as billions of people know how to read and write we need
billions of people to know how to code


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Simon Biggs <>
Date: Sat, Aug 24, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] How does art science practice
contribute to successful scientific practice

Hi all

Obliquely related to this thread, as part of the Edinburgh Festival
this year, the Mason Institute (Edinburgh University School of Law)
hosted a symposium on art, ethics and science, the main focus being on
bio-ethics - an important cross-disciplinary domain engaging the
social sciences, law, medicine, biological sciences and, the premise
of this symposium, the creative arts. This is relevant to the debate
on Yasmin as the proposition underlying the event was that art plays
an important role in how we conceptualise, challenge and determine the
ethical frameworks society relies on. That this is an important
dimension of science where art often leads the way, not fearing to
tread where others might perceive high risk.

Here's the link to the event:

As it turned out the event was full to capacity and the debate
continued for a couple of hours, getting pretty heated at times. The
event was recorded and a written transcript will be posted to the
website in the near future.



On 24 Aug 2013, at 16:50, roger malina <> wrote:

> danny bronac and colleagues
> I agree that the way that I have phrased the yasmin discussion as "how
> does art science practice contribute to scientific research; sets
> up the very dichotomy I am arguing against
> but I also have a deep problem as does with Danny with the 'third
> space' discourse- brockman etl al's third culture , E O wilson's
> consilience-
> i am just not convinced this approach is interestingly generative- i
> am less concerned about its positivist heritage but that I think it
> contextualises our activities in a world that doesnt exist any more
> I personally think there are very good reasons to have disciplines and
> that we train discplinary experts - i would be hard pressed to explain
> to a nano technologist working on how to build space elevators how the
> history of film would really help find the new approaches needed-
> except in some very vague theory of creativity- its a lot of work
> bringing different disciplines together and you have to be really
> convinced
> its worth the effort
> on the other hand there are some hard problems ( science of
> consciousness ?) where connections between the sciences and the
> humanities
> are generative. I am just reading Randall Collins' book " The
> sociology of philosophies; a global theory of intellectual change"
> which concretely
> shows how communities of practice bring together disparate approaches
> to tackle hard problems- and the cognitive sciences today are
> rightfully
> engaging the art science community ( the new european network on
> Cognitive Innovation- COGNOVO has just been
> launched).
> When we were working on the SEAD white papers final report (
> )
> we very very naturally found ourselves tying our thinking to prior
> movements in systems theory, cybernetics, complexity and emergence and
> we titled
> our report very deliberately:
> Steps to an Ecology of Networked Knowledge and Innovation:
> Enabling new forms of collaboration among sciences, engineering, arts,
> and design
> in hommage to bateson's Steps to an Ecology of Mind but also drawing
> ongoldberg and davidsen's future of learning institutions in the
> digital age
> we had somewhat of a gestalt switch when we moved from thinking of a
> Tree of Knowledge ( one of whose branches in STEM)
> to a Network of Knowledge- you make connections beween branches in a
> tree in a different way that between nodes in a network,
> tree structures grow topologically in different ways than networks,
> and information flows through trees in different ways than through
> networks,
> to cut down a tree you do it in a different way than to destroy a network
> in a dynamic evolving network of knowledge the separation between
> nodes evolves as hard problems bring researchers from
> different communities together- in our community the art and
> technology movement brought into proximity researchers that
> 20 years before would barely have met at cocktail parties-and we now
> have industries based on computer arts= but bringing
> together the art and technology communities around the steam engine
> would not have been very generative and to my knowledge
> theromodynamic art never happened
> today the art and biology community of practice is thriving around
> deep issues of the nature of life etc- and we now see hybrid practices
> in a way that would have made little sense in the age of Pasteur
> in some cases forrmerly separate disciplines merge ( in my case
> astronomy became so joined with physics that astrophysics resulted)
> anyway- i dont like the Third Culture discourse any more than the Two
> Cultures Discourse- and feel we need to develop networked knowledge
> metaphors and language and think in terms of disciplines within an
> evolving dynamic network
> this line of reason is one of the reasons that perhaps the concept of
> "STEM' is one that is no longer useful because it is so firmly
> perched in a tree of knowledge metaphor
> and why the way I phrased this yasmin discussion perhaps sets us on
> the wrong track
> roger
> Hi all
> It is indeed old ground but always fruitful precisely because so
> intractable. The limitations of the third space discourse from my
> point of view are mostly that it carries the positivist legacy that it
> is possible or desirable to define new spaces for practice, rather
> than pursuing better descriptions of the incommensurability of
> practices and discourses. Critical art practices of the avant-garde
> have traditionally worked in a more negative direction of departure,
> so many artists would find the question of how their collaborative
> practices contribute to scientific research pointless or even
> offensive (it is also true that many would find it similarly unhappy
> to be asked how their practice contributes to art history).
> With the insertion of artistic research into the techno-scientific
> university there are indeed new modes of practical collaboration and
> interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary practices being
> institutionalised, for myself the most interesting collaborations have
> had a kind of indisciplined quality where both artist and scientist
> are in a state of departure from their very different modes of
> socialisation.
> Of course some people are better working across the two cultures (or
> more than two) than others but it's hard to believe we are really at
> any state of departure from that paradigm when the question can still
> be asked "How Can History of Science Matter to Scientists?"
> Maienschein et al, Isis, 2008, 99:341-349. My preferred conversation
> is "how can art-science collaboration contribute to discourses of
> artistic autonomy and interrogation of form"? Yes there have been a
> few interesting interventions made there but the hyphen in art-science
> is far from disappearing and there's nothing wrong with that IMO.
> Cheers,
> D
Yasmin_discussions mailing list

Yasmin URL:

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.