Thursday, December 22, 2016

[Yasmin_discussions] St(r)eams cell(s)

Dear Yasminers,

Here are some thoughts regarding the on going topic STEM to STEAM.

Art and science may be both studying life with different methodologies,
meanings and languages. Technology allows to improve such quest. Since the
12th century people like Omar Khayyám were already mastering mathematics,
astronomy, poetry and philosophy and Marcel Duchamp was lately inspired by
Henri Poincaré. It might be that specialization had improved the schism
between art & science. It might be that technology and specialization have
somehow separated those disciplines, like for example architects use to
master structural design until approximately the industrial revolution.
However the Spanish architects Santiago Calatrava or Gaudi master both (art
& science), because they probably studied both.
The following are field notes collected while collaborating with

1) Language seems to me the most important. The use of an appropriate
terminology from the field (art or science) one wants to collaborate with
is crucial in order to be as precise as possible in term of exchange. The
mastering of the language and words of a discipline is paramount when
developing a project in interdisciplinary studies. Therefore scientists
should study the language of art, and artist the language of science they
chose to collaborate with.

2) The experience of the artist going to the lab is one possibility. What
about the scientist going to the artist studio? A third one is to put
together artists and scientists in the same 'retreat' and let them discuss

4) Art and science collaboration is a niche or perceived as such. Many
examples have shown science vulgarized by art in order to provide
scientific results to a broader audience. What if questions emerges from an
horizontal collaboration? Meaning that the input from a scientist or an
artist into the field of the other shall ask new questions.

5) I am not sure if there is a proper methodology, since, if I may,
scientists tend to dismantle a phenomenon in thousand of pieces in order to
study each piece to understand the big picture. Whereas artists tends to do
the reverse.

6) Examples of *détournement *of technology for the arts abound. One
example from
my field would be Alvin Lucier using Alpha wave and EEG measurements
emerging from study of black out appearing in pilots after long flights.
The physicist Edmond Dewan proposed to Lucier to compose with his EEG

7) Funding should be included in large initiatives like already present in
Europe, Switzerland and USA. The large amount relates to the necessity to
have proper
scientists dedicating their time for the research as a team and to have
access to labs (the reverse is true also for the artists).

The role of the artist may be to bring another angle of view in scientific
research (and vice versa), otherwise driven into one single direction. Not
necessarily as a naive view, but with the eye (or ear) of an external
observer who has mastered a language. My experience with the above is that
long term collaboration in a lab is the most efficient way to develop art
and science collaboration and ideas. However ideas not necessarily emerge
in the lab. In addition, results may appear after several years of
collaboration. As a last word, inspiration, improvement and curiosity from
one another is the richest experiences that may emerge from such

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