Response to 3.5 from Suzanne Anker

Suzanne Anker/ As we continue the conversation, the “sci-art” proposition and its engagement is still not resolved. What is included in this set? Do we separate out the physical sciences from the biological ones? Bio Art may be a sub-set of this conjunction, but does it follow that there is a Physics Art? Geology Art? Mathematics Art? I don’t think so. When artists such as Damien Hirst or Marc Quinn or even Orlan employ dead animals, bodily fluids or molecular substances in their work, they are not referred to as belonging to the “sci-art” genre. What is included in this designation and why? Many artists working with wetware in a laboratory mode are in general either making amateur science or speculative design. Let’s not forget that our discourse is in art, art theory and art history or even cultural studies. Artists in the “sci-art” domain are not equipped to rant about the scientific aspects of their work beyond a layman’s interpretation.They are in fact using science’s data bank to translate those ideas into images, objects or film.There is no conjunction here making artists and scientists twins, separated at birth.

There are several modes of engagement that seem promising. Competitions such as iGEM or the Bio Design Challenge are excellent ways to vet ideas which fall under this rubric. These are rigorous competitions that entail visual presentations, social and educational outreach in addition to innovative collaborative practices.


One Reply to “Response to 3.5 from Suzanne Anker”

  1. “What is included in this designation [sci-art] and why?” My own favorite puzzle case is the surrealists, who drew liberally on Freud’s theories and clinical framework to justify their methods. Psychoanalysis was at least *held* to be a science at the time. I take it that the perverseness of the example just shows how arbitrary the category is. More to come on your latter point regarding applications in another post.

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