Thanks for launching and contribute to this discussion. I'll skip the info
about me, for Roger was so kind to forward my previous email which included
links etc. Here I'd like to follow up on a couple of points which emerged
While we may all agree that art and science contribute to create knowledge,
it is important to recognize that they contribute to *different kinds* of
Roger (2006) wrote one of my favourite quotes in this regard: 'Most science
is normative and need make no appeal to extra disciplinary sources for its
advancement'. The kind of knowledge an artist is interested and invested in
is different from the one a scientist is concerned and work for. It is, of
course, a matter of methodologies, history of practices, contexts and,
perhaps more importantly, questions, which originate in and evolve through
different means: artistic aesthetic and scientific hypothesis. An artist
does not need a hypothesis to make a good artwork, in the same way as a
scientist does not need an aesthetic to make good science.
Thus, crucially, we should be wary of the re-staging of normative science
in artistic endeavour, as well as the functional uses of art to enhance
scientific or technological productivity; art & science is about 'working
outside current paradigms, taking conceptual risks', citing Roger again.
The unique possibility available to us today is that we can merge
disciplines towards new practices of experimentation. This, however, has to
be done mindfully, for it will likely result in contrasts and
dissimilarities which are not easily defended and sometimes must be taken
for what they are: inconsistencies. This is, after all, one of the aspects
that contributes to the richness of art and science practice itself.
Importantly, this does not signify an incompatibility between art and
science; rather, it indicates an intrinsic complementarity, which we may
trace back decades and centuries ago. Art & science, it was already hinted
at, is nothing new. Through deeply transdisciplinary approaches, especially
in education, such complementarity can be fully investigated, leveraged and
This mode of transdisciplinarity, what Roger calls 'deep art-science
coupling', requires the artist-researcher to have an in-depth knowledge of
all the fields being engaged with. This is necessary to highlight
contrasts, exploit complementary aspects and generate connections among
science, art and theory.
To conclude, what I find exciting today is that we (artists and scientists)
have the overt possibility to formulate questions *together*; sometimes we
even get money to do explicitly so. Being a practitioner artist with a
scientific or transdisciplinary degree is less rare today than it was a few
decades ago, but more importantly, we get more easily to sit together
around the same table. So the issues become: Assuming that art and science
work through and for different kinds of knowledge, how do we go about
asking questions? How do we combine our methodologies in ways which are, at
once, non-exclusive, respectful and risky?
2006. Welcoming Uncertainty: The strong case for coupling the contemporary
arts to science and technology. In Artists-in-labs : Process of Inquiry, J.
Scott, ed., P. 15. Wien: Springer
Marco Donnarumma, Ph.D.
*Performing bodies, sound and machines*
Research Fellow at Universität der Künste Berlin
*Human-Machine Configurations (2016-18)*
Einsteinufer 43, Raum 212
10587 Berlin, DE
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