Dear Eric and all,

Thanks for a really enjoyable discussion so far. Not long ago, I would
skip over most ArtScience related material, because as Florian Cramer
already pointed out, this seems to belong to another era and a
particular lab-oriented approach that isn't up to scratch to the
challenges of today. But in the past year or so, I had been wondering
why Art & Science seems to be making a comeback and Eric's article is a
timely response to this. The reason why I am under the impression that
this "field" is surging back is simple - I surprisingly found that this
year, all my transmediale related invitations to participate in a panel
or give a talk were under an ArtScience umbrella. This is rather unusual
for a festival that isn't overtly concerned with Art & Science and its
relation to the legacy of Leonardo and artists that work within the
natural or so called hard sciences. What I ended up doing at these talks
was arguing for transversal approaches, across and beyond disciplines
(much like Eric is advocating), the recognition of the value of the arts
beyond advancing knowledge in linear ways (art does not have to be good,
innovative) while still interacting with all sectors of society and the
importance of including humanities based approaches into ArtScience. The
latter point was made by Eric too and reiterated in the discussion with
Gary Hall - and I can't stress how important this is as there seems to
be a tremendous lack of critical theoretical discussions in many of
these artscience gatherings. At the same time though, there is a doer's
mentality in ArtScience which is refreshing in our current times, not to
say that it is reactionary but rather that there is a positive outlook
on hybridity and the possibility of making ArtScience out of that. This
became evident to me at a meeting in Grenoble under the title "Future
Collaborations between Art & Sciences and their Role for Europe" which
seemed untypical as the participants were a mix of "softer" cultural
institutions like transmediale and Schloss Solitude, EU politicians,
science labs and big corporations. It was uneasy for sure, but there was
a feeling of uncertainty of how to move this field further that could be
productive. At least, it is important to intervene in this field as Eric
suggests, since a lot of policy making and financial resources are being
invested in it, an aspect which has not so much been brought up here
yet. Just take the Horizon 2020 programmes which has set a new agenda
for collaboration between art, technology and science on a European
level and which dictates a very technology-centred view with clear
quantifiable results. A few interesting projects have been able to slip
through and we need to see much more tactical action and long-term
strategies to influence this growing field. As Eric's post was initially
coming from an institutional context, maybe there are other voices on
the list who can share experiences from working "within" projects in
this field and reflect on how it might be transforming?


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