Session II

A Look Within:
Examining Implicit Attitudes, Motives, and Assumptions

Wed. Nov. 8 – Thurs. Nov. 9, 2017

2.1 What is it about contemporary science that makes it so inviting of art/science comparisons and so ripe— if it is—for interdisciplinary collaborations?

2.2 What are, and have been, the power dynamics between the two fields, and how might these be shifting with the convergence in question?

2.3 How does sci-art relate to the larger trajectory of post-modernism and its as-yet-undefined aftermath?

2.4 Given that one of art’s most hallowed roles has been as a vehicle for transcendence, how does sci-art position itself with respect to this tradition?

2.5 How does sci-art relate to the larger cultural movement toward what E.O. Wilson calls consilience, or the unification of human knowledge?

Session II Dialogue


Taney Roniger/ Moving into the second session today, I’ve a strong feeling we’re just getting warmed up. There have been so many thoughtful and provocative posts and comments here that many people have asked if the dialogue will be archived. I’m happy to say that indeed it will. In what exact form remains to be determined, but my hope is for some kind of print publication. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted. While the opening session sought to clarify some of the language surrounding sci-art, Session II will encourage us to undertake some introspection as we examine the underlying ...
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2.1 What is it about contemporary science that makes it so inviting of art/science comparisons

Lorrie Fredette/ I have a few general thoughts. The first is our ability to access enormous amounts of information via the internet as well as the promotion of news, articles, stories via social media. Step in a bookstore and National Geographic Magazine covers are glossy images of the new brain, the study of the brain and the teen brain. Organizations work hard to get their messages out and do so via these platforms creating headlines of interest to rise above the fray. One of the more important avenue of accessibility is via the NPR program RADIO LAB!! Don’t forget Science ...
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Response to Werner: Science Museum vs. Art Gallery, and other stuff . . .

Stephen Nowlin/ Regarding some cited works of Sci-Art, Werner Sun comments that “. . . if I had encountered any one on its own, I would probably not have identified it as sci-art per se . . .” ( ) Werner, thanks for your thoughtful comment, which raises really intriguing issues. First, on a broader subject being discussed, my two-cents is that I don’t really think “Sci-Art” rises to the definition of a brand — it’s rather more like a way-finding sign. It suffices, only. Personally, it kind-of covers what I do and maybe that’s as much as we ...
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Just what is it that makes today’s science so different, so appealing?

Dan Weiskopf/ I’ll offer a few fairly wild speculations as to why now might be an especially propitious time for artists to take a special interest in science. (With the caveat that there may not be anything special about now except that we’re living in it.) ...
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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 ...
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Response to Stephen: Science Museum vs. Art Gallery, and other stuff . . .

Werner Sun/ Stephen, “sci-art” as a way-finding sign is such a refreshing way of approaching the term. It does shift one’s perspective when thought of that way. I am reminded of the “shut up and calculate” approach to physics, which has certainly had its successes. I suppose I am ambivalent about the term “sci-art” because it tends to color my interaction with any given work. It feels as if a certain lens has been placed in front of my eyes. Perhaps that is my problem and not yours. And thank you for sharing your videos with us. Congratulations on such a sensitively ...
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