Jeanne Brasile/The angles of Sci-art to which I am drawn stem from a fascination with science and popular culture. My generation came of age during the Space Race and the development of shuttles, space stations and space probes. Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and a legion of movies about space brought astronomy and physics to the forefront of our consciousness. Medicine and Biology were also very salient areas of discovery and popular culture for those coming of age in the 1970s through the 1990s. Though there was a multitude of approaches and themes to explore in Sci-art, what interests me the most are artists that don’t necessarily want to get to truths, but who are using science as a beginning to a conversation that doesn’t need to be factual or even have an answer. Sci-art, when it simply ponders larger questions, holds the most sway with me. I look to science for answers. I turn to art for possibilities – and those don’t have to be based on any sort of veracity.
The Sci-artists (and for that matter, artists in general) that are most successful in my view, are those that have a curiosity about science that engages them deeply and personally, but merge that interest within a larger framework that can appeal to others. That is, to form a larger dialogue outside of their own interests and engage in a broader conversation with the public. When Sci-artists borrow imagery or data, and don’t implicate it beyond simple replication, it is not necessarily art. When Sci-artists borrow processes, information, technology or concepts from science, and then reconstitute it or implicate it differently – that is when Sci-art functions best. In the mid 2000s I began to notice many artists reproducing images from tunneling microscopes, MRI’s, telescopes or seismographs – with little or no intervention or change in context. For me, this doesn’t resonate. Artists are culture’s daydreamers – they are allowed to ponder, explore alternate realities and dream of potentialities. Art, unlike science, is not just permitted – but obligated – to indulge in asking questions that do not have to necessarily be answered.