essays and articles for study and research
Vita-More, Natasha. ArtScience Blend
The sciences and the arts are both responsible for the present circumstance.
Together they flirted with innovation and fondled technology while their desires spawned ideations as they publicly revealed their private yearnings. These two diverse yet compatible domains together have created a melange.
Are they together or not?
Side by side, art and science are taking the lead—their pace quick and agile. This is a fact. While the arts may be responsible for some back payments for getting behind in biotechnological contributions, science is paying its dues for tardy aesthetics. Being long term investors, both have been building interests in creative innovations. The melage prods ahead pushing entropy out of its way by its own perspicacity.
First, let’s clear the air— misconceptions about Art.
The arts represent a broad spectrum: visual art, literature, music, dance, electronic design, film, video, performance, conceptualization, and architecture, for example. Each mode has its own set of criteria, terms and memetic phrasing. To lump these communities into one domain is often a mistake.
“‘Art’ is one of the most misused words in the English language,” states philosopher Mortimer J. Adler, in Art, The Arts, And The Great Ideas. In the chapter titled “The Current Prevalent Confusions,” Adler discusses misconceptions about art, artist, artifact and works of art. I found this chapter particularly significant because here he touches on the qualities of the appreciator of art and also the artist who possesses the ability to produce an object of art, performance or concept.
“Is not the art they [artists] possess the power to produce this or that object, this or that performance? Is it, therefore not reasonable to use the word ‘art’ for the skill that makes a human being an ‘artist,’ and to use the phrase ‘work of art’ [objet d’art] for the product of the artist’s productive activity?”
Here he states that it is a mistake to use the word “art” as “what adorns museums of art” and used exclusively for paintings and sculpture.” And further rejects Oscar Wilde’s extremism that art has no purpose, (i.e., “art for art’s sake”).
You might ask why I am bringing up the distinction between the arts and art, especially if you are an artist or someone who is knowledgeable about art. I do so because I hear it misused and read it misused all too frequently! Art is not just something that hangs on the wall, a museum is not just a place where images are exhibited, and an artist is not just a person who makes images or paints! Just ask Prince!
Cultural critic Susan Sontag wrote about culture and the arts. In the essay “One culture and the new sensibility,” she focuses on the two cultures of art and science, adamantly questions C.P. Snow’s assumptions, and heads into the ever changing new standards and new attitudes toward the arts. For her, high and low as slogans for art are meaningless. She discusses an interest in “sensory mixes” and a need for exploring our senses and pleasure in the arts.
If Sontag had made it through the ridicule of her initial support of pop culture unscathed, and if she were still writing about arts and science, what would she write—as controversial critic—about the role of the arts today? If she could make even coffee nervous—she could delve into the blend of art and science with a salaciously inquisitive mind.
The descriptive phrase the arts is a reasonable and sturdy umbrella. Its encasement protects the arts from being pulled apart and diminished. Although this makes sense, the phrase “the arts” usually refers to the established and traditional arts and not to new innovations and challenging ways of perceiving art.
Art and Science Together.
When we think of the arts, it is necessary to stretch our imaginations even further at a time when humanity is beginning to steer evolution. This includes so many factors, of which the state of our own identity plays a major role. We will interface more and more with technology and our sexuality will continue to mutate radically.
Who are we? What are we becoming? How will we do this? What are our values? What is our culture? What will be the evolution of our brains and bodies? Big canvas!
Artists and scientists—the idea-makers—will produce an array of modes.
What does and will continue to fascinate me is the fine tuning of ideas and what these ideas will produce. For all I know, it will be some nano device that might become the nanoart piece of recognition. It might be literature about the romance of multi-genderals, or a 2-stanza poem about mosaic offspring, or it might be a sketch of the chemical combination that reverses aging, or a 21st Century technology spacecraft that will stream across the solar system and beyond—like the new and versatile durable immortal bodies that we will inhabit—like the symbolic foundations for electronic networks that will carry information—like the vision of those imaginative enough to transcend the limitations of their conditions with the fusion of biology and intelligent machines.
Excerpts from Create/Recreate: The 3rd Millennial Culture by Natasha Vita-More