my apologies for having stayed away from the discussion for a long time. I
have tried to catch up on the rather voluminous flow of exchanges, however
I have to admit that there doesn't seem to be much that I can contribute to
since much of it falls out of my competence area.
I try to answer in this stream of connections and confrontation.
First of all, I consider the transdisciplinary way a methodology for
creating a meeting between art and science. Science and technology are
major engines of change in our lives, but their impact does not stop at the
laboratory door. In other words, science has to get out from laboratory
for meeting the artists and the artists have to enter into the laboratory
for meeting the scientist.
I suggest a sort of landscape where art and science are meeting each other
in a remix of ingredients, dreams, projects and it could be thought as a
third landscape (quoting Clement, suggested by Salvatore, or also in the
third infoscape filled of microstories).
How many stories and microstories do we need? History is made of human
geographies and of new stories and maybe also of new geographies.
In this landscape, we can find a reflection about what leads us to the
necessity for a polyphonic scenario, in which multiple approaches co-exist,
influence and support each other, ecosystemically, defining relations,
separations, conflicts, differences, solidarity, sustainability. About
definitions of "heritage", the relations and the connections could create a
multiple and plural form in a great human ecosystem. Poly-(or multi)
heritage could be a possible way.
In this marvellous poliphonic scenario, we forge our own reconnection for a
renaissance of interest in encouraging a tighter integration, con-fusion
(in terms of with-fusion) of art, science and technology. Many art/science
collaborations are based on the assumption that artists can enrich research
processes. Transdisciplinary projects also have an agenda to explore common
practices among disciplines, but with a more holistic approach. By
transcending conventional notions of what appropriate activities within a
discipline are, participants attempt to bridge disciplines in innovative
How many cultures do we need? One Culture, two Culture, three Culture or
(Here you can find an interesting article:
Quoting C.P. Snow, the essayist who coined the "two culture" cliché, he
proposed a simple solution to the problem of divided cultures. He argued
that we need a "third culture," which would close the "communications gap"
between scientists and artists.
As John Brockman, the founder of this new third culture, wrote: "What
traditionally has been called 'science' has today become 'public culture'.
Bringing our two cultures together will allow us to judge our knowledge not
by its origins, but in terms of its usefulness. The arts, science and
technology are experiencing a period of profound change. The third culture,
according to Brockman, consists of those scientists and other thinkers in
the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are
taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the
deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are.
According also to Johan Lehrer and with his book Proust Was a
Neuroscientis, maybe we could also say, art can make science better. This
is particularly true for our most fundamental sciences, like physics and
neuroscience. Physicists study the fabric of reality, the invisible laws
and particles that define the material world. Neuroscientists study our
perceptions of this world; they dissect the brain in order to understand
the human animal. Together, these two sciences seek to solve the most
ancient and epic of unknowns: Lehrer asks, what is everything? And who are
But before we can unravel these mysteries, our sciences must overcame their
present limitations. How can we make this happen? Science needs the arts.
The fourth culture according to Joahn Lehrer or a fourth dimension (new
language) according with Linda Henderson seeks to discover the
relationships between humanities and sciences.
Today's science, denying its past, responds to the material needs of our
times; likewise, art denying its past, must respond to the intellectual
needs of our time. (Henderson)
If science today isn't learning much from the humanities, neither is it
learning enough from those with expertise in politics or in communication.
Science today doesn't have any problem producing; but it has a huge problem
While some in science are beginning to recognize this problem, for others
it still remains off the radar. Moreover, many messages that came from the
"third culture" hardly seemed to have outreached their core. E.O. Wilson's
book Consilience, for instance, could be described as an attempt to usurp
the place of the humanities, rather than to build a bridge between them and
The human condition is the most important frontier of the natural sciences.
Conversely, the material world exposed by the natural sciences is the most
important frontier of the social sciences and humanities. The consilience
argument can be distilled as follows: The two frontiers are the same.
Other interesting book about Consilience in a "creative" way (a sort of
second wave of Consilience) is "Creative Consilience" by Edward
Slingerland, Mark Collard.
There are places where science can provide useful explanations for the
humanities and places where it cannot, and finding out which is which is a
very important task for interdisciplinary consilience. (Slingerland,
Transdisciplinary pursuits also attempt to bridge traditionally opposing
fields of study. However, transdisciplinary arts differ from
interdisciplinary arts in that the constructed distinctions between fields
are often subverted. Artists and scientists begin thinking about the
mutually inclusive nature of their respective disciplines.
Transdisciplinarity is therefore not a theory. Instead, it is a principle
that leads and directs research, which accompanies a particular
organization form, which distinguishes itself via a high level of
integration. At the heart of this transdiciplinary culture there are, and
will be, those in the arts who have turned their creative gaze towards
The arts have always served to communicate ideas, and like any subject
matter, science is a subject more and more artists are dedicating
themselves to as science has moved its way toward the center of daily life.
How Leher writes: "while science will always be our primary method of
investigating the universe, it is naïve to think that science alone can
solve everything itself, or that everything can even be solved. When we
venture beyond the edge of our knowledge, all we have is art ".
Maybe the aim of art is not to find the true, maybe the aim of art is to
keep alive the attention about our reality (the perception of reality) with
all weakness and question marks, because the world is made of relations,
the relations are made of projects, dreams, existences, in other words its
contains a great, poetic multitude inside a invisible (or visible) dust of
line. One, No One and One Hundred Thousand.
Sorry if I could not answer before. I hope that my contribution can be
See you soon in Bologna.
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