Thursday, August 29, 2013

[Yasmin_discussions] Fwd: how does art science collaboration practice contribute to scientific research

On Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:58 AM, Todd Siler <> wrote:

> Hi Roger,
> Thanks for setting in motion a chain of thought-provoking emails (below).
> They've triggered countless nerve/cell-assemblies that make me remember
> and wonder aloud once again: Why not adventure beyond weighing and
> measuring Art's contributions to the advancement of
> science-technology-civil society? Why not focus on exploring the spectrum
> of learning experiences these curious artscience collaborations afford us
> that are invaluable? I trust we'll quickly progress beyond these
> ever-expanding acronyms for STEM, STEAM, STEAAM, SHTEAM that distract us
> from doing what comes so naturally to many inquisitive minds who *think
> beyond categories* and simply enjoy the challenge of working
> collaboratively to achieve a shared, common goal.
> It seems we're all groping to answer the same questions about human
> creativity that many of us transdisciplinary "artscientists" (aka
> integrative thinkers) posed decades ago as natural born "metaphormers"
> (lifelong learners, creators, discoverers, inventors, and innovators).
> Perhaps, we should look more closely at our myriad *definitions* of art
> and science, which tend to determine our *experiences* of these two
> interrelated domains of explicit, tacit and implicit knowledge (see
> attached pdf).
> In an earlier email, you stated that "there are numerous modes of art
> science collaboration." Indeed, there are, just as there are numerous
> expressions and embodiments of these collaborations. Unfortunately,
> many are overlooked or ignored for reasons that are too deep to detail in
> this email.
> I'd like to briefly comment on two mutual interests that remain top of
> mind: (1) art science work that leads to scientific production, and (2)
> instructional technology or procedures that can be used to train people
> how to collaborate on art science projects.
> Concerning (1): the collaboration I've been engaged in for the past 18
> months with Geoffrey Alan Ozin aims for both scientific production (e.g.,
> the invention of a new Periodic Table of Nanomaterials) and artistic
> production (e.g., ArtNano Innovations). As we noted in our white paper for
> the SEAD Network: "The collaborative endeavor spotlighted in this paper
> presents one example of two lifelong practitioners in the ArtScience
> process who have come together to explore the possibilities of realizing
> innovations in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology that can help meet our most
> urgent global challenges (Ozin et al., 2009). I don't recall sending you
> our proposal for the ArtNano Innovations. But I'd gladly do so, if you're
> interested.
> For the moment, I'll simply point to a couple of artscience
> collaborations that have led to patented inventions and tangible products
> with industrial applications.* *I was hoping that more researchers in the
> SEAD Network who composed meta analyses would visit my collaborator
> Geoffrey Alan Ozin's website (, they would've
> seen the pioneering work Geoffrey and his colleagues have done over the
> past four decades -- much of which embody the ArtScience process and
> practices. Geoffrey's creative collaborations reveal how the arts add much
> to scientific inquiry and are useful in ways that catalyze innovations. I
> find that Ozin 's books and papers on Nanochemistry address many of the
> concerns the SEAD Network and Yasmin community have mulled over for some
> time now; they provide fresh insights into teaching, learning and
> applying his polymathic knowledge *from lab-to-market*. Also, Ozin's
> artscience approach has led to a number of practical patents and new
> businesses (such as the Toronto-based company he co-founded, Opalux (
>, which produce "tunable photonic crystal technology"
> applied to security printing.
> One quick aside that's important to mention here: there's a rather curious
> connection between our different, yet related, approaches to purposeful
> "object making" is how Ozin et al build their nanomaterials on a
> microscopic level (from bottom up). In an uncanny way, their process
> parallels how I create my large-scale paintings [some 14ft. x 200ft.] using
> macroscopic scale techniques (literally, top down), which utilize the
> retro-relief printing/painting technology that MIT patented for me some
> years ago.
> My point is: there are many basic connections between our diverse
> approaches to discovery and innovation that are uniquely united through the
> artscience process; invariably, that process yields many "accidental
> discoveries," to borrow Albert Szent-Gyorgyi's words; as he writes: "A
> discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind." I've
> experienced this many times: how both art & science prepare our minds for
> that unexpected encounter with discovery; and how the research-based work
> of artscience often leads to patentable products. I'm inclined to believe
> this work succeeds precisely because it fosters the open-mindedness and
> creative freedom I enjoy in transdisciplinary thinking and integrative
> studies. That's why I've been having so much fun collaborating with
> Geoffrey. He gets the whole ArtScience process, because he's been
> practicing it over a lifetime as evidenced in "Materialology: Past,
> Present, Future" Nanochemistry Research Group 2012.
> Concerning (2)*:* I think* *the creative collaborations you're aiming to
> teach can be gleaned from reading this book: Ozin, G.A., Arsenault, A.C.,
> and Cademartirir, L. (2009).* Nanochemistry: A Chemical Approach to
> Nanomaterial. *Toronto, Canada: Royal Society of Chemistry and University
> of Toronto. Ozin et al. write: "One of the hallmarks of nanoscience is
> its interdisciplinary nature—its practice requires chemists, physicists,
> materials scientists, engineers and biologists to work together in
> close-knit teams," write Geoffrey Ozin, Andre Arsenault and Ludovico
> Cademartiri, co-authors of *Nanochemistry: A Chemical Approach to
> Nanomaterials *(2009). "Communication and collaboration between
> disciplines will enable these teams to tackle the most challenging
> scientific problems, those that are most pressing in the successful
> exploitation of nanotechnology.
> On a related note, the procedures we've been using since 1994 to stimulate
> and cultivate "ArtScience collaborations" are highlighted in this article:
> "The ArtScience Program for Realizing Human Potential," in LEONARDO, Vol.
> 44, No.5, 2011; pp. 417-424, 2011. As you'll read, the ArtScience program
> is meant to *start upstream* [in elementary school] and carry on through
> high-school and college, and used throughout one's careers. In fact, the
> ArtScience process as described in this program is intended to be applied
> *lifelong* and used in *informal learning* situations, such as in various
> professional work-related situations, where individuals, groups and
> cross-functional teams (composed of a spectrum of specialists) collaborate
> on goal-oriented projects with measurable outcomes. (Siler, Todd.
> (2012) 'Pointing your way to success through metaphorming,''in *Journal
> of Business Strategy*, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 47-58, ISSN 0275-6668. ; Q
> Emerald Group Publishing Limited, "Making sense of ideas: The model route
> to innovation," in *Strategic Direction* Vol. 26, No. 11 2010, pp. 25-27;
> ISSN 0258-0543)
> The taproot for that program and its approach to innovation was initially
> expressed in *Breaking The Mind Barrier: The Artscience of Neurocosmology*(Simon & Schuster, 1990). Essentially, I used the visual arts to make some
> new connections between two of the most complex physical sciences: human
> neuroscience and the scientific study of the cosmos. I still find that
> adventurous connection-making process essential for catalyzing innovative
> thinking and creative collaborations. It's also important for raising
> insightful hypotheses, which can be confirmed (or not confirmed) by
> applying the scientific method. That was one of the key points of *Breaking
> The Mind Barrier:* fostering ArtScience collaborations that apply
> creative inquiry in probing natural connections on all dimensions and
> scales.
> "The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been concealed
> by the answers," according to the novelist James Baldwin.
> My artscience work aims to lay bare many fundamental questions about the
> relationships and interactions between the inner-and-outer workings of
> the brain. The relationships and interactions remain as unsolved mysteries
> of human creativity. I tried my best to explore this reality in *Breaking
> The Mind Barrier*, which grew out of this adventurous doctoral work, *Architectonics
> of Thought: A Symbolic Model of Neuropsychological Processes* (Ph.D. in
> Interdisciplinary Studies in Psychology and Art, Massachusetts Institute of
> Technology, 1986;*.*
> Finally, "the dichotomizing between art and science," as you've aptly put
> it Roger, will continue until the day everyone realizes that *we tend to
> experience things by how we define them.* In fact, our context-specific
> definitions of art and science (more so than our content-specific
> definitions) lead us to construct all sorts of silos and towering walls of
> today's compartmentalized fields of specialized disciplinary knowledge.
> These real silos and virtual walls are still present. I see us smacking
> into them like birds hitting crystal clear closed windows. Honestly, it
> hurts just the same crashing into the silent symbolic space that separates
> the words and worlds of "art science"; that space may as well be filled by
> an astrix or hyphen or slash mark, or some other symbolic expression of
> separation.
> Todd
> PS – the attached PDF explores our ever-evolving definitions of Art. Some
> years ago I wrote these informal "notes to myself" that highlight various
> changes I've seen in our definitions and experiences of the arts. I think
> these notes may still be useful for further developing an ArtScience
> education that applies an ever-adaptable, lifelong curriculum for fostering
> innovative thinking.
> **
> roger malina
> Aug 22 (7 days ago)
> to yasmin_announc., YASMIN
> Brian
> your email triggered a nerve-
> when we surveyed the STEAM field in
> US high schools for the SEAD white papers we found dozens
> of STEAM programs- including STEAM with the A for Agriculture-
> so yes all for Activism !!
> my colleague tom linehan has been asking provocatively whether
> the very concept of STEM is a concept that is now no longer useful
> ie the very ontology of STEM forces you into a way of thinking
> that blocks the most interesting ideas and projects
> Johnathan Zillberg in his SEAD white paper meta analysis
> started a frontal attack on the very concept of the two cultures
> as one that is no longer useful and critiques how in spite of
> ourselves we draw on the two culture mythology even though
> C P snow himself disagreed with the way his ideas had been
> distorted
> how would the art science community begin to think if we
> banished the two cultures and CP Snow (yeah aristotle is fun
> to read too) and the very concept of dividing knowledge and
> education into STEM fields and non STEM Fields= so maybe
> this STEM to STEAM discussion is fundamentally misguided
> i remember 20 years ago roy ascott when we were working
> on the Leonardo Special Issue on Art and Interactive Telecommunications
> (with the late and regretted Carl Loeffler) agitating to find a way
> to replace the work Art because it carried too much unuseful baggage
> so no for STEAM STEAAM SHTEAM yes for ?
> roger
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.