“Science deserves better than naive worship and naive contempt. Its regime of invisibility is as uplifting as religion or art. The subtlety of its traces requires a new form of care and attention, a form of spirituality” Bruno Latour ‘On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods’ 2010 Duke Univ Press p94
When is Art and Science just art or just science? When one takes the other as subject? When the two are placed together? Science inspired art, art to communicate science, the science of art, science looking at art – these examples are all well and good, and may or may not produce or reinforce interesting art or science, but do they justify the conjunction of art and science? Arguably science can exist in art, in the successful production of a particular effect through experimentation for example, and art in science, in the inspired expression of an intuited model for example, but even then they remain themselves. However, bring the two together as a heterogeneous hybrid, rather than interpenetrating others, and a space opens for a multitude of practices to interchange and flux, free of the value judgements of specified communities. As one they tease dogmatic voices, undermining those who seek to fragment, ranging freely across disciplines, unafraid of a plurality that dissolves definition. Growing beyond one thing, moving out toward horizons that manifest not from within or without, but from dialogues which drive novel forms that expose the delineations imposed by axiomatic worldviews.
As a field which breaks prescription in its own naming, why should it fall foul of arguments which serve only to maintain polemic divisions? It is schizophrenic, an anti-tautology. It need not feel ashamed of empirical research, nor should it apologise for relativism and poiesis. It’s free to absorb and reflect all, undermining the universalising tendencies of fundamentalist theories, blurring and fracturing boundaries, revealing the pernicious taint of academic diktats, and rendering intellectual bravado flaccid by flattening hierarchies. It can enable trans-disciplinary pursuits, foster non-elitist inter-disciplinary exchanges, and challenge institutional pathologies through collaboration at all levels. It offers a novel means of exposing how social, political, and industrial machines can act as grotesque demiurges, brazenly demanding the capitulation of nature, and stimulates subversive action. By negotiating the tensions which arise out of often polarised opinions, a rich multi-dimensional space unfolds, unbounded by the conventions of more singular fields and generating a new creative substrate.
If legitimacy in art can be associated with a critical relativism, with each artist standing on their own two feet, accountable only to themselves, we return to questions of taste and power in what is afforded grace within the art world. In one reading of art and science a window is opened for the inclusion of meaning which may be more broadly agreed upon. A degree of rigor whereby an honest discourse with specific disciplines outside of the arts is introduced, one in which some terms are shared, as they are subject defined, and others eschewed for less familiar uses or forms of poiesis which are solely consistent with an individual’s beliefs. Conduits for communicating content between areas open up, trust between collaborators and audience is garnered when the relativistic vehicle of practice transforms from cloak to arbor – bringing differents together rather than holding them at bay. Through building up respect for the beliefs of separate communities as well as individuals we expose our own predispositions, our own conformity to arbitrary givens born of tradition, our subscription to articles of power and supplication to economic and cultural hegemonies. Through recognising the precarity, partiality, and potential hypocrisy of our own stances, a clarity which pares away prejudice and subverts our own subjection fosters fresh vistas. Invigorated by a hybridity of shared thoughts and foundational planes which drift away from elitist concrescences we fuse together within an evolving, shared aesthetic.
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