Science and Technology in Cultural Context
Art/Science Hybrids Conference

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- new transdisciplinary practices for the 21st Century

Conference Date: Thursday 9th May, 10:00 - 16:00

Venue: Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) → more info


The rise of new transdisciplinary practices in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries is striking. The gulf between art and science that has widened since the Enlightenment has now been challenged by a wide body of scholars, artists, designers and scientists. This special conference day will explore the concerns of emergent transdisciplinary research that seeks to re-unite the arts and sciences. In addition to established connections between areas such as electronic music and computer science, the forum will cover more novel collaborations and hybrids including, but not limited to:

  • Arts and life sciences
  • Medicine, art and design
  • Music, art and psychology
  • Synesthesia research
  • Architecture and Transmedia

The presentations will focus on the process of collaboration between the different disciplines and provide forceful arguments for considering these new hybrids as new transdisciplinary areas of research. The conference will provide support for such claims as made by transdisciplinary approaches to arts and science and hopes to encourage future collaborations between both.



10.30-11.00 Art Into Science / Science into Art - Steve Gibson
My experience as an artist and musician working with technology now spans more than twenty-five years. From my early experience with computer music I was intrigued by the idea that the fine arts could be united into a Gesamtkunstwerk through technology. Twenty-five years on, hybrid artist-scientists are now fairly common. Artists are collaborating with biologists, computer scientists, geographers and with other far-flung disciplines. Similarly scientists are learning the value that artists can bring to a project in terms of creativity and “ways of seeing” (Berger, 1972). On-going discipline-centric resistance based on adherence to traditional barriers between the (subjective) arts and the (objective) sciences continues to be prevalent: however, it is fair to say that the gulf between art and science that has widened since the Enlightenment has now been widely challenged by a body of scholars, artists, designers and scientists. This presentation explores the concerns of this emergent transdisciplinary research that seeks to re-unite the arts and sciences into a new hybrid form.

11.00-12.00 KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Artscience and Verbal Articulation in Hyper-Visual Techno-Culture - F. Scott Taylor
During this presentation I hope to establish an analytical process for better comprehending and articulating the cultural, phenomenological and aesthetic appreciation of current artistic and scientific representations in visual media. My approach is to ground such comprehension in terms of our internal and external sensory orientation through language phenomenology. In order to do this, I will examine current scientific notions regarding focused attention as these are related to the integration of vision with other senses involved with language skills and comprehension. Diseases of attention can be analyzed and diagnosed in terms of the relationship of sensory integration to verbal competency. After discussion, an historical review of the rise of hyper-visual techno-culture from the early nineteenth-century will be followed with illustrations of how contemporary artists depict the visual properties associated with language disorders and deficits. The presentation concludes with the critical assessment that the comprehension and articulation of techno-cultural aesthetics has been biased by the limitations of digital orientations. It is recommended that this bias can be partially addressed and adjusted when more attention is focused upon analog orientation in terms of language phenomenology.

12.00-13.30 LUNCH BREAK

13.30-14.00 Iterative Emergence of Art/Science Hybrids - Stefan Müller Arisona
This presentation highlights and analyses the realisation of three examples of Art/Science hybrids that resulted from close collaboration of artists, scientists and engineers: Soundium, a real-time media-processing framework, that emerged from mathematical music theory and developed into a VJ tool and a general media processing framework; the Digital Marionette, which was based on Soundium, and additionally included real-time speech recognition and facial animation; and the Procedural City, an interactive installation that used a fingerprint scanner and a generative urban modelling tool to create personalised 3D cities. While all these examples started from a point of uncertainty in terms of technology, design and anticipated final result, a common denominator among them was the interaction between artistic process, scientific research and engineering. Thereby, artistic ideas often were beyond the capabilities of the technology available, thus triggering research and development. New solutions then returned in a generalised and more expressive form, spawning new artistic demands. Therefore, I will identify processes and strategies involved, and will argue that such a close iterative interplay between domain experts is a key ingredient for rapid emergence from uncertainty to a final work.

14.00-14.30 Sustainable Ecologies Presented Through Audio-Visual Performance - Léon McCarthy
This paper will report on my presentation of themes of ecological sustainability through audio-visual performance. The medium of performance can engage the emotions whereas documentary & film tend to engage the intellect. Hence, my audience can consider themes in a frame other than the norm. Drawing from practices in documentary film, data-visualization and performance art, I interpret scientific data which, when ‘audiovisualized’, lends integrity to the themes presented.

14.30-15.00 COFFEE BREAK

15.00-15.30 The Superhero and the DJ - Farvash Razavi, Nandi Nobell and Mikael Lindström
Scientists and designers are working together for mutual benefit, shortening time from idea and lab to market introduction. The designer helps scientists to develop new materials with properties sought after by the market instead of focusing on material properties for scientific publications. Artists (designers) get the chance to be the first users of new materials and scientific processes at the same time as they are participating in the tailoring of new materials. Communicating material properties through design objects displays more than the physical properties of the new material, it shows the material identity including perceived attributes.

15.30-16.00 Community Visioning through Integration of Science and Art - Rashid Saini
In a place where the sensitivity of integration can affect socio-cultural climate, science and art can play integral and shared role to communicate to a community about their issues. Partaking in what is referred to as community visioning, science will be used as the process, art the manifestation of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, and the people as raw materials for the purpose of community visioning research. Investigation on used and abandoned spaces and land structures, human movements and sensorium, past-present narratives, cultural diversity and identity, individual and collective socio-economic concerns and environmental effects, will all come into play to bridge differences that involve foreign-local relations and concerns of generational gaps. The process of scientific research and presentation of findings through art will culminate in a sensorial engagement and a community-based encountered works whose presence intersect the community’s daily lives and make evidential a layered reflection on expectations and shared visions for their future.

Copyright @ ETH Zürich
Page last modified on December 30, 2017, at 09:47 PM