Monday, December 19, 2016

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] What does STEM to STEAM mean: New Ideas or Hot Moist Air ?

Dear Yasminers, Ken and Roger,

> For those willing to do the work required to reach any kind of frontier,
> we've arrived at a moment in art when many things are possible. Is it
> possible for art to make interesting and useful contributions to human
> knowledge that enrich science and thinking with new ideas? I believe that
> it is. But then we've got to allow for the sad truth of science: dedicated
> researchers spend years, sometimes a lifetime, simply to add a small
> contribution to what we know as a species.
I don't know if this "competitive" vision is one of the best to try to
understand art-science relations, and what one can do for the other, or wht
they can achieve together.

I tend to see(k) more an interactive, relational, communicational vision.

"Art as a way of knowing"

from Lawrence Weschler, at the Exploratorium in 2011 (

<<Nicholas [of Cusa], for his part, suggested that it wasn't quite like
that. Imagine, he challenged his readers, a circle with an n-sided regular
polygon inscribed inside. Say, an equilateral triangle. Add a side and you
get a square. Add another side and you get a pentagon. Keep adding sides
and eventually you get a million-sided polygon. Granted, at some point it
starts looking more and more like its surrounding circle —here he was
anticipating calculus by over two centuries.

But in a profound sense, Nicholas went on to argue, that compounding figure
would have been getting less and less like a circle. For that thing has a
million sides, whereas a circle has only one. That thing has a million
angles, and a circle has none. At some point, he argued, you were going to
have to make a leap (and he coined the phrase, "leap of faith") from the
angle to the arc—a leap that could only be accomplished in grace, for free.

And those would constitute two essentially different ways of knowing.

As a writer, I've always liked that formulation. You keep piling on detail
after detail, and somehow the thing just doesn't come together, which you
can tell, because when you tap it, it just doesn't ring true. But then
suddenly, almost unaccountably, it pops into shape. There's all that work,
which was preparation, preparation, as it were, for receptivity, but when
things finally come together they seem to come together of their own
accord. I wonder how much that too is like the work, the practice, of

and, in the same discussion, Hockney:

<<You can see why I was so excited. That insistence on the need to break
down borders, to entertain the interconnectedness of things and of
ourselves with things; the notion that in science today it is no longer
possible to have ideas about reality without taking our consciousness into
account. And beyond that just the language that Bohm shares with that of
other physicists. They're always talking about "overall worldview," the
need for "new horizons" or "wider perspectives" or "a new picture of
reality"—all of these visual metaphors, which a painter of pictures can
understand and which have relevance for how he thinks about his own
pictures. There's that famous phrase of Gombrich's about the triumph of
Renaissance perspective—"We have conquered reality" [which, again, in our
context is basically the neo-Cartesian boast]—a phrase that has always
seemed to me such a Pyrrhic victory, as if reality were somehow separate
from us and the world now hopelessly dull because everything was now known
and accounted for. These physicists, by contrast, were suggesting a much
more dynamic situation, and I realized how deeply what they were saying had
to do with how we depict the world, not what we depict but the way we
depict it. >>

And of course this is dated, ad also somewhat naive in confronting with the
necessities of the contemporary cultural and scientific industry in
pragmatic ways (how?). But at the same time it perfectly makes the point of
seeking an ecosystem in which more than one way of knowing lives with
dignity, and bringing impacts not as separated, but by means of compex

In fact, towards the end, Weshler concludes with Robert Irwin:

<<I really feel that there is this kind of dialogue of imminence, that
certain questions become demanding and potentially answerable at a certain
point in time, and that everyone involved on a particular level of asking
questions, whether he's a physicist or a philosopher or an artist, is
essentially involved in the same questions. They are universal in that
sense. And although we may use different methods to come at them, even
different thought forms in terms of how we deal with them — and we will
eventually use a different methodology in terms of how we innovate
them—still, really those questions are happening at the same moment in
time. So that when we find these so-called accidental interrelationships
between art and science, I don't think they're accidental at all. >>


I think that anthropologist Massimo Canevacci has coined an insightful
couple of terms: "Methodological Indiscipline" and "Exact Immagination",
dealing with the role of transgression and of the "third spaces" in the
knowledge ecosystem.

all the best,

*[**MUTATION**]* *Art is Open Source *-
*[**CITIES**]* *Human Ecosystems Ltd* -
*[**NEAR FUTURE DESIGN**]* *Nefula Ltd* -
*[**RIGHTS**]* *Ubiquitous Commons *-
Professor of Near Future and Transmedia Design at ISIA Design Florence:
Yasmin_discussions mailing list

Yasmin URL:

SBSCRIBE: 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").
TO ENABLE / DISABLE DIGEST MODE: in the options page, find the "Set Digest Mode" option and set it to either on or off.
If you prefer to read the posts on a blog go to