The Poetic Space

Gianluca Bianchino/ As I go about my career making works in dialogue with science, and therefore  participating in Sci-Art to some extent, I still believe the category itself is potentially unnecessary for it is the result of defining a trend and less so a movement in art.  We are in a strange age that orbits the very edge of Postmodernism, echoing the long undefined boundary of the solar system the Voyager space-crafts are traveling through.  Before these space-crafts securely reach another system will they be traveling through a forever undefined border? Perhaps we are currently making our way through an ambiguous region of our own as artists whose trends and categories are driven more by fierce market forces than intellectual rigor.  What will be the next definable phase in art and will that bring back movements as opposed to fashions?  That being said I still believe that Sci-Art will persist in growth while continuing to act as a branch of art more than science; this I think is due primarily to the question of its audience, still undetermined or perpetually in flux.  Will Sci-Art generate an affordable market to scientists if they shall be its principal audience? Some good things have been said in this symposium about its capacity to evolve outside of mainstream markets. It’s almost as if Sci-Art is squatting on unclaimed real estate.  What happens when the developers come? Run!

Sci-Art will continue to grow as a trend, and potentially a movement in the near future particularly if it engages in further challenging the political climate in service of innovation and energy efficient technology.   However, I honestly don’t think that art and science will merge into one discipline without there always being art for art’s sake lurking in the background, inconveniently stressing self reflections upon Sci-Art as one would hope it does upon other branches of culture.  Art’s primordial interests in abstraction, with or without scientific inquiry, will continue to prevail and bring about new aesthetics of its own.  This very independent artistic space is the true nursery of poetic sensibility in visual language.  It is a fundamental organism of human thought that will always find a way to carve itself a new path within the “creative” hemisphere.  While abstract art will always persist, Sci-Art has to worry about longevity and possibly extinction.

9 Replies to “The Poetic Space”

  1. “This very independent artistic space is the true nursery of poetic sensibility in visual language.” Beautifully stated, Gianluca, and I couldn’t agree more. Except that we might differ on what “this very independent space” might be. I’m not sure “pure art” ( art cloistered away from the real world, an autonomous entity existing for its own sake – if this is even possible!) is the real seedbed of creativity. To me, it seems that to be creative in any meaningful sense, art must be engaged with the world – both deeply observant of its changes and challenges and fiercely responsive to them. By this I’m not referring to activist practices of any kind; I just mean “situated” practices that engage the human condition in whatever state it happens to be in at any given time. I see “this independent space” as the one you underscored in your first paragraph – that precarious place on the margins of culture where we’re all just hoping for another day before the developers arrive. Art’s capitulation to the market has cost it its soul, and I’d hate to see that happen to any more mature instantiation of this thing we’re calling “sci-art.” To be critical in any sense, we must remain countercultural — which is to say willing to live without the endorsement of the dominant culture. This is what I’d like to see sci-art do moving forward: Reclaim art’s hallowed role as an agent of perturbation. Which is not to say all of us need to go around shouting; sometimes – and now seems like one of them – the most countercultural thing you can do is sit still and think. But do it out in the world, you know? …where people will notice.

  2. Taney, Yes. I think what I meant by art for art’s sake is not art completely disengaged from the world but neither one so bound to a compartmental category, or a dominant culture for that matter where it risks turning itself into a sheep following a heard. Abstract thinking of the best kind ultimately springs from participating in the world and can feed ideas back to that world.

    1. Ah, I see! You meant art as ART rather than art burdened by a hyphen and all it portends. Then yes, we are absolutely on the same page. Personally, I think we’d all be better served if we dropped the term sci-art and just called it art.

  3. Yes art as Art! Apparently these days that’s the hardest thing to do.
    And thank you also for helping in clarifying that thought. I very much like the idea of art (abstract or figurative) “situated” in a context relevant to the world.

  4. I have come away from this symposium understanding just how much currency science has developed in art at this time. When I first started out in the 70’s it wasnt much in fashion but it was being discussed among that segment of us that realized its importance and wanted to use it. Minimalism, positivist of necessity, employed a cold factual approach that aimed to foil interpretation. So the next generation worked with exactly how meaning could arise from reduction and abstraction. Now I have seen many more direct quotations of science being used almost as figural representation in art. I have also learned something of bio-art, am sure that is is an important development but would rather that it was called applied science, which a substantial proportion of it seems to be. Gianluca’s characterization of his work as” in dialogue with science” is well stated.

    1. Linda, Thank you. It has not been easy to reach that characterization for the work is always in flux and bound to process and discovery of new materials and techniques as opposed to any preconceived theory. It’s interesting to know that minimalism is also tied to a scientific methodology without the work necessarily resulting in a science-like aesthetic.

  5. Yes, I agree as well — thank you both for those cogent thoughts. Sci-Art should be ART first, situated in an agitated puzzlement over how science means and disturbs in current human culture.

  6. But I don’t see it as a trend or typical movement — rather, as a 500 year-old continuum with a present inevitability that I expect will persist along evolutionary timescales . . .

    i.e., I think it’s here to stay.

  7. Stephen, I believe in the 500 year old continuum as well and it will be interesting to see its evolution both within and outside of the definition of Sci-Art.
    I think one of the aims of this discussion has been to develop a communal sensitivity to unmask the works that are mere science aesthetic, or nothing more than simulations of science experiments, versus works (or artistic practices) rooted in a deeper poetic dialog. If this atypical movement is here to stay, this distinction is important.

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