I spent Saturday at the Subtle Technologies Festival, a conference about combining art and science.
The speakers showed all sorts of weird biological things, ranging from cells forming words to a baby elephant in an MRI machine. (Mostly they were making art using lab techniques or scientific research, but a few were using artists’ ideas to inspire or improve scientific or medical work.)
My art practice involves the other end of the scientific spectrum, but I did get a whole bunch of ideas for new artworks while my brain wandered in the lecture hall.
Some good quotes and ideas from the presenters and commenters:
- “Artists are trying to see the unseen”
- “To access and give visual form to internal states”
- This bio-art is “moving beyond spectacle”
- “Sight is privileged as a mode of understanding the world”
- Converting medical data into sounds could “bring intuition back into diagnosis”
- Many artists go to science labs, but few scientists go to artists’ studios
- Artists want to show the scientific process that scientists find tedious
- The replication method in art resembles the scientific process
- Data creates distance from pain. The scientist “deeply immersed in complexity” compartmentalizes their emotions about the subject.
- Planning and mindfulness (in preparing to do art or science) “allows you to be ready for the happy accidents”
- The artist is not interested in scientific accuracy, rather in showing the impossibility of accuracy
- “Is God a mathematician? Is God a statistician?” [This was music to my statistician’s ears!]