Dear Art/Science enthusiast!
I wanted to alert you to a conversation around the intersection of art and science that is taking place this week on the NEA’s Art Works blog @ http://www.arts.gov/artworks/
You can see a summary of my introductory post below. Throughout the rest of the week, we’ll be hosting additional posts by art/science enthusiasts Roger Malina, Andrea Grover, Marina McDougal and Whitney Dail.
People interested in learning more about how the NEA can support art/science projects in the future are encouraged to join our art/science mailing list by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org We’d be happy to forward information on our application process and to invite you to join a webinar we will be conducting in the coming months to support applications seeking support for art/science projects.
Feel free forward this alert to anyone in your network you feel would be interested, and please drop in and post your own thoughts to the blog. We’d love to hear from you.
Bill O’Brien\Senior Advisor for Program Innovation
National Endowment for the Arts\ 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 628
Washington, DC 20506\202 682 5550 o\www.arts.gov
The Imagine Engine! or Art and Science—a True Story
April 30, 2012
by Bill O’Brien, Senior Advisor for Program Innovation
“Signals,” a collaboration between Casey Reas and Ben Fry, depicts an image where each graphical cluster represents signals between networked proteins in a cancer cell as they change over time.
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious—the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” — Albert Einstein
The fundamental emotion described by Einstein above has been felt by artists and scientists across the eons. Increasingly, artists and scientists are eager to explore creative practices emerging at the intersection of their two fields. Some are motivated by how these ties can spur vibrant new economies for the 21st century. Others are interested in how they may foster creativity in our schools and in more informal settings. Still others share the same motive that likely drove the ‘seeker’ who turned the bone of a vulture into a musical instrument 40,000 years ago; a mysterious quest for beauty and meaning.
Terms like “art/science hybridity.” “inter-disciplinary,” “trans-disciplinary,” and even “anti-disciplinary” have emerged to describe new and fertile terrain that exists outside the confines of our traditional silos. The platforms for these new modes of investigation and expression range from theaters and museums and other traditional performance spaces to research labs, personal computers, health facilities, public squares, hacker spaces, Processing software, maker-faires, and cyberspace.
The “transformative impact of art” is a challenge to define, and tricky to prove. Recent neuro-scientific advances by Nobel Prize-winner Eric Kandel and others have shown that the brain constantly re-wires itself based on how we experience the world in our daily lives. It’s intriguing to think how we may one day (perhaps soon!) be able to build on this work to solve the mystery of what happens at the molecular level when our brain is “on art.” We sense that it enhances our awareness of ourselves, each other, and the world. In profound examples, it radically alters the perceptions of the person experiencing it, infusing them with new insight and understanding. Great moments of scientific discovery can produce similar eurekas. Artists and scientists both chase the exhilaration of “knowing” something new and important. And the urge to share this new knowledge with others is strong.