RE: Art and science

Date: Mon Aug 27 2001 - 17:13:52 MDT

From: Waldemar Ingdahl

>Today, fine art and engineering are about as far apart as two disciplines can get.<

I understand why you might come to this decision based on seemingly narrow genres and movements in the artworld, but such critiquing becomes factoidal because fine art cannot be categorized in such a limited size or scope.

>One is all about aesthetics and beauty (but I would have my thoughts about that being the case- but that's another subject); the other is all about functionality and measurement.<

This argument goes back to the repeated supposition that art is subjective and science is objective. Art is not 100% subjective. The most obvious example is a building. If the structure is not solid, the building will not stand. However, to bring it to the old-world art form of oil painting, if the oil, demar varnish and turpine are not mixed in parts that create a smooth and blended pigment, the oil paint will not hold firmly to the canvas surface. If the canvas is not stretched firmly across durable stretchers of a solid wood whose right angels are firmly balanced and secured with weight-conscious fasteners, the picture will fall apart. Art is about functionality and measurement, as perspective, design, and rhythm expose in their respective art forms and modes.

>Those few people who try and bridge the gap between the two are looked on as crankish: the artist who paints pictures of steam trains, architects who put heating ducts on the outsides of buildings, science writes who wax poetic, and of course the perilous path of the artist that just looks at technology by only integrating a new technical media (as all of those "installations" in the '90s showed).<

Art and science have been coalesced for centuries and it has not been a recent 90's accomplishment but an afforded enlightenment. To recognize this, first it’s essential to recognize “art” as disassociated from any one specific medium or representation.

Calling artists who bridge the gap as “crankish” is a broad stroke but doesn’t nearly cover the many successful projects that are highlighted at numerous exhibitions of biological arts and digital/biological productions at such venues as Ars Electronica, Digital Design Expo, Siggraph and other expos. (Not to mention that the Transhumanist Arts)

>Most people on either side regard these efforts as futile and messy.
But all of this would sound like complete gibberish to an educated child of the Renaissance.<

I don't think so at all. And, a little bit closer to home, I think da Vinci would smile dearly on "Primo 3M+" and provide a collaborative and inquisitive mind in such artistic/scientific projects.

The point you are trying to make could have been more persuasive if you hadn't tried a demolition act on the arts of today, but looked for ways where arts and sciences provoke the status quo through conceptualized ideas as well as actualized product. While there are indeed many areas in which the arts lag behind, the same is true of the sciences, economics, medicine, law, etc. A more profound point would have been to expose the areas in which art has taken hold of the times in a transhumanist sensibility and contrast it to art that lacks value in regards to the times. Art reflecs culture, adn culture creates art. If we have a transhumanist culture, we indeed have transhumanist arts.

Transhumanism reflects the sciences and the arts that represent the dignity of our era. The intelligent application of innovation can unfold through transhumanity’s ability to skillfully cross the well-drawn lines of idea making. This in itself is an art. But, that, in all its richness and vision, is just a beginning.

Natasha Vita-More

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