Establishing Visions for the Future
Mon. Nov. 13 – Tues. Nov. 14, 2017
4.1 What, if anything, does sci-art have to offer the broader culture?
4.2 Does the sci-art movement have a role to play in the 21st century imperative of saving the planet? In what specific ways can sci-art contribute to solving the most urgent problems we face?
4.3 If the mechanistic worldview of the 20th century is what brought us to the current ecological crisis, can sci-art serve as an agent of promotion for a more holistic and sustainable metaphysic?
4.4 How might art and science evolve independently to shape culture in more positive ways? Would each be more effective on its own?
4.5 Given the current political climate, what can both fields do to resist the increasing threat of marginalization?
4.6 One of the most ambitious claims made by sci-art proponents is that some day in the near future art and science will be indistinguishable. In light of this claim, what lies beyond sci-art? Where are we going?
Session IV Dialogue
Taney Roniger/ The flurry of activity we saw here over the weekend has left us with much to ponder and discuss! While we continue to explore some of those questions, I want to issue the final set of prompts that will take us through Wednesday. Because we’ve covered so much material in so little time, and because so many of our panelists’ responses call for further discussion, we’ve decided to leave the conference site live through the end of the year. This will give everyone the opportunity to continue the dialogue and, should there be the desire, to respond to ...Read More
Werner Sun/ Leonardo da Vinci is often cited as the original sci-artist and a paragon to be emulated because of his mastery of both art and science. But I wonder if Leonardo is a false idol, given how much both fields have evolved since his time. Science in the 1400’s was a far more speculative affair than it is today, not having been exposed to the instruments or mathematics or Enlightenment ethos that solidified its current cultural authority. And I suspect that most artists in the 1400’s viewed their craft in a utilitarian manner and not as the vehicle for ...Read More
Jeanne Brasile/ I think art and science both have much to offer one another. One example that resonated with me recently was how scientists and engineers at MIT are using origami to overcome the difficulties of space travel – specifically using designs for solar arrays based on intricate folds to maximize energy use. Similarly, physicist Robert J. Lang is also an origami master who similarly employs the use of folding to solve complex engineering problems at NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory. I see that the future is not necessarily about a convergence of art and science, but how art and science can ...Read More
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 ...Read More
Dan Weiskopf/ The examples of science-art interactions discussed so far have mostly identified science with basic research and its products (theories, data, images, etc.). But science is heterogeneous, and the emphasis on theory neglects other forms it can take. Beyond the classical division between theorists and experimentalists, we also need to add modelers and simulation-builders, who craft and manipulate computational analogs of real-world systems. Perhaps most significant for thinking about science-art collaborations, though, is the comparatively new field of translational research ...Read More
Stephen Nowlin/ Regarding Werner’s call for thought experiments on the future of the science-art enterprise, and my query on how science might someday replace religion. Werner asks “Do you have a sense of how this might work in practice?” Good, modest little question, Werner — kinda like asking for simple operating instructions on how to transform all of human history! But an excellent experimental thought challenge. So everyone please forgive me at the outset for the hubris of even imagining how such a massive change might actually happen . . . A first humble step might be to stop casting ...Read More