“Nature is Infinitely Interdisciplinary”

Linda Francis / Jeanne’s post is certainly spot on. I think we sort of obliquely spoke about “knowledge” and didn’t really continue the discussion James began in regards to it. Matthew graphed the migration of modes of thinking from one position to another in history.  I agree with Margaret that the toughest part of the picture, even with this cascade of science into the culture’s consciousness, is in trying to work together to affect  real-world applications that are most often linked to politics.  Suzanne cited two programs that were applying pragmatic solutions to big political problems in a kind of entrepreneurial frame. But I am most concerned/ worried about the development of AI and how that could be used. How can artists, who are taught that art does not editorialize, position themselves as arbiters of what is good?… Continue reading

Response to Dan on activism

Linda Francis/ I do agree, particularly when, as a result of my failure to convince the Audubon Society and a number of associated land trusts with a very well researched and simply reasoned discussion, to actually take some position that would be in accord with their own conservation mandate, I understood in a flash how all is lost on a local level. If one multiplies/enlarges the willful ignorance that was at work, one can see why on a national level we are losing all too.

In regards to your posts and Taney’s on Bernar Venet: I totally agree with your view of the work and want to point out that there are some superficial devices- words placed obviously in some of the panels acknowledging the current rhetoric in fashion. eg: on one you will see a phrase in an eye catching position naming Kurt Goedel and on another piece the … Continue reading


Linda Francis/ I certainly concur with Leonard’s post on legitimacy, although it is difficult to know how to judge things that we want to call art of any kind, and within that sci-art. The problem both Taney and Daniel have identified is the problem of relevance or authority in society as a whole.. But I ask this question: what do we want from sci art, and how is that similar or different from what we want from art in general. Taney and Suzanne speak about Activism or social relevancy in art. Bio-art when it is positively positioned gives us some excellent and useful ideas in trying to solve various pressing problems we have as a society-However, is the “art” we are attempting to label an art that maybe does not operate in any quotidian sphere, and is there no need for it at this point? I don’t mean to exempt … Continue reading

transfigurations and exchanges

Linda Francis/ Dan mentions the possibility of art’s heuristic value to theorists or that it may be suggestive of new phenomenon to investigate. To inspire scientists, as well as of course others, is “not nothing” to quote Ray Johnson. And to be inspired by them, as I  wrote earlier, can be the subject of art. A personal example: I became friendly with a materials scientist who enjoyed coming over to my studio and talking with me about various ideas regarding science in general. We lost touch a couple of years later, when he moved to California to work on a NASA space shuttle whose heat shield failed. One day I received an envelope in the mail from him with a letter sized xerox of an electron micrograph image and the inscription- “this looks like your work”- It actually did.  I was  amazed to find that a person whom I thought … Continue reading

Is scientific imagery sufficient to invoke scientific content?

Linda Francis/ Invoke  scientific content, yes, but produce content not necessarily unless we ask the same questions of both disciplines, “what is reality” notwithstanding. If we focus on one specific question maybe, and then agree to discuss each discipline’s findings in relation to the other. That might work. Perhaps a more narrow version of consilience, as Taney cited in the last session. Thinking about what Dan began in a reply to Werner regarding discursion reminds me of a particularly interesting conceit in art that is labeled “recursion”:  In one sense, artists are creating works that have to prove themselves as objects or facts. Enter recursivity-  discursively speaking, our own Mandelbrot-ian referents. Apropos of that, fractals have been able to describe Russian nesting dolls and molecular biology.… Continue reading

Response to Taney via Dan

Linda Francis/ I certainly agree with Dan Weiskopf’s  well taken points and enjoy his caveat -as if we could know. And Taney: that this romance has been going on through history and your observation: “Beneath all the cynicism and irony that set in with postmodernism it’s hard not to detect a really deep sadness compounded by a pervasive sense of insecurity about art’s agency as a cultural force.” Witnessing the demoralization of young art students in the face of postmodernism was tough. I realized that you cannot take a young developing cohort and tell them that their ideals and aspirations are fictions without derailing their development. Perhaps science/art is an escape from the wreckage, propelling the self into the comfortable zone of the outlier — Dan’s point #5.  And subtext:” The Matrix”.

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Reply to Elaine and Taney ” A couple of ..”

Linda Francis/ The problem is language. We have more or less agreed upon it. So do we parse the structure of scientific method and then do we measure art by it? Or Taney, apropos of “reason” – How do we have a meta- discussion of  meaning in the language of art or science -It strikes me that there is no other way but to reason together, or alternately, produce work together that is critical in and of the genre in which it is operating. It brings us back to the necessity of fluency in each language.  Perhaps the example that Elaine uses re: scientific thought and evidence taking a back seat to – knowledge? In any case, I think there is some problem in what art is doing with itself too. Is it able to discover new things or is it hampered by its own conventions? How can we use … Continue reading

Reply to M Ricciardi

Linda Francis/ There is no argument here regarding the many possibilities for art and science together, there is only my dismay at a catch-word that has the effect of limiting the dialogue, characterizing the work in a superficial manner, and leaving the enterprise vulnerable to the usual swings of the marketplace.… Continue reading

1.5 There is no sci-art

Linda Francis/ Science can be the subject of art,  just as reason can be a method or operation in making art and then in understanding it. It can be style. But the appellation “sci-art” is a brand, a useful commodification just as the embrace of science in the popular media is a necessary sale to the public in a world which is increasingly underpinned  by the sciences.  The allure to artists: the gorgeous imagery, structure, form of the macro/micro revealed in photographs and stories of escape from society’s more clearly repulsive  spectacle. It opens onto the usual discussions of aesthetics in terms of questions of beauty, truth, the ideal, resonance, et al.… Continue reading