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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Artscience: Creativity in the Post-Google Generation

The Literary Vesicle excitedly releases Artscience by David Edwards. David Edwards is the founder of Le Laboratoire, an artscience center in Paris. The book is all about the wonderful fused applications of art and science that create innovation, about the beauty of "artscience":

There may be aesthetic aims that require application or understanding of the scientific method...or there may be scientific aims that require application or understanding of the aesthetic method...Either way, the fused method that results, at once aesthetic and scientific--intuitive and deductive, sensual and analytical, comfortable with uncertainty and able to frame a problem, embracing nature in its complexity and able to simplify to nature in its essence--is what I call artscience (p. 6-7). 

Some examples of artscience include:
·         Johannes Kepler--scientific discoveries in astronomy by optimizing what he viewed as the harmony of celestial bodies with musical notes
·         Diana Dabby--music composition through chaos theory, Olin College
·         Julio Ottino—fluid mixing (art and chemistry), Northwestern University
·         Kay Kaufman Shelemay—music as medicine, music and memory, Music, Ritual, and Falasha History, Harvard faculty.
·         Don Ingber—cellular structure modeled off a Buckminister Fuller tensegrity structure, Yale undergrad, Harvard faculty. Ingber is now “an international spokesperson for architecture and design in nature and biology."

Really, all science should be appreciated artistically, and enhanced as a result. (Even in organic chemistry, there's beauty in the geometric designs of molecules!)

Edwards proposes a realization of artscience through a process termed “idea translation”. The process is outlined below:

1.      Develop idea/concept through serious interdisciplinary study.
2.      Test idea through experimentation that may involve personal experience.
3.      Translate idea within or reaching outside of research institutions.
4.      Realize idea by arriving at an awareness of artscience as a catalyst to research.

I'll leave with a statement that is a favorite among favorites. Edward’s proposal is much closer to truth than proposal, in my opinion.

What I would like to propose is that scientists who create in the arts have the chance to become better scientists as a consequence.