Stephen Nowlin/ There are, as this symposium shows, many approaches crowded under the Sci-Art umbrella. For the one having to do with exhibiting works of science-based art, the quaint convention of the gallery wall label conceals much deeper issues than its quietly pragmatic utility would suggest. First of all, gallery labels are annoying — tiny little extra rectangles, visual objects in themselves, that dot the wall and exude residue of having hawked one’s craftwork at a peg-board street fair. Worse, though, they trumpet the century outmoded single-channel notion that each work of art is “on display itself” rather than part of a cohesive aesthetic and intellectual whole where only an installation free of all unnecessary visual flak will suffice. Wall labels in a gallery are like leaving a metronome going during the symphony. But their truly criminal act is when they historicize and decode the work of art, and by so doing padlock it to a particular meaning, a sanctioned history, reducing it to a mere illustration and sidekick of the tiny text object that explains it. The debauchery of the didactic! This theft of an artwork’s resonance, its pliability and potential to inflame sensations of transcendence, is especially likely when it comes to Sci-Art. Maintaining the integrity of an artwork as an object that ignites meaning and sensation surreptitiously and experientially, that exerts a kind of alchemy, a gravity that summons diverse associations and interpretations into its orbit, that resonates freely and shepherds onlookers in random meandering paths of meaning — that amazing unique power of art harnessed to the profound mystery and ontological torque of science must not be shackled by too ambitious an attempt to corral the art inside too specific a meaning. Unless your desire is to run a science museum, instead of an art gallery — where you can communicate science with the banality of a high-school textbook, instead of the impassioned spirit of a poet. . .