Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Tall claims and failing proof of science-art interactions!


The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best -- and therefore never scrutinize or question. -Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist, biologist, author (1941-2002)

Tall claims are being made regarding art's contribution to the world of science. It is also being said that the combination of art and science will bring in more development in all the spheres including science and business. However, despite all the positive noises made by the science-art interaction promoters, we don't see much progress in the welfare of the people because of these interactions. These claims failed to convince the governments and people of the developing world which I think is one of the reasons why science-art interactions are not becoming popular in this part of the world. People here want to see proof and not just talk. So I tried to investigate and went in search of evidence that these are really working positively.

Science art interactions have their origins in the Renaissance period.  They have taken a back seat after that with art and science developing into separate fields. Organizations like Leonardo revived them some forty plus years back. They have become more active in the last ten years and are gaining full speed now. It is time we addressed the problems we are facing in the sci-art world now.

First the problems -

Welcome trust  discontinued funding sci-art projects - after several years of experimenting with them - as it found no evidence of  art enhancing the progress of science (4,5). You can read this fact in their reports.    It clearly says : the participating artists and scientists learnt much about one
another’s disciplines from their collaborations, but appeared generally not to have gained a high level of
new insight into their own. It was not generally felt that Sciart projects had contributed to a shift or development in scientific processes or outcomes. Sciart had helped to more closely connect the cultures of art and science, though this connection was perceived to have had greater benefits for the arts than for science. So, Wellcome trust is not itself funding sci-art projects where scientists and artists were brought together earlier to learn from each others' experiences now but simply giving awards for innovative projects undertaken in the UK . This is because of the results it obtained in its work which were not very positive. This modification is like giving the movement another chance and seeing what others can do in such situations. There is a difference. One should not try to overlook that aspect and learn lessons from Wellcome Trust's experiences. Yes, the lure of awards might make artists cooperate more in the collaborations by turning them into responsible partners but let us wait and see where all this leads to and hope that this will help in the real progress of science.

You can also read several articles in the Guardian news paper on line editions written by scientists working at CERN which say majority of scientists at CERN are not interested in sci-art interactions because sci-artists till now failed to show science in a new light(2)!

 There is a real asymmetry on the international  science-art scene. It is obvious that majority of the people who are participating in the sci-art interactions are from the art world (more than 90%) and most of the scientists are not showing any interest in them at all. People say: It's been far easier to convince artists to participate in a dialogue with scientists than scientists with artists. (13).

One has to read this book by a scientist who also experiments with art : La science (n')e(s)t (pas) l'art : Brèves rencontres by Jean-Marc Levy-Leblond (Editions Hermann, Paris, France, 2010) to understand why some scientists are skeptical about these interactions. In this provocative book entitled with humour both “science and art” or “science isn’t art”, Levy-Leblond, physicist and essayist, examines, in a critical manner, similarities, often expressed by some scientists (and also some artists), between art and science. Levy-Leblond gives several arguments to reject the influence of science art interactions from a scientists' point of view. You will then understand what some scientists think about this movement.

Several scientists who collaborated with artists consistently say that their collaborations with artists are interesting but scientifically unhelpful (33).

I will add my own experience to this article. I have been creating art since my childhood. But when I put the Q to myself  'Has art ever helped me in any way in my scientific research?' to my surprise I draw a blank ( I don't want to use negativity here)! I think  forgetting that I am an artist when I am in my lab is the best way to proceed with scientific reasearch. This really bothers me. Because the artist in me sulks and gets disappointed too like other artists to hear this. But a fact is a fact!  The scientist in me will have to accept this fact. Unless somebody proves to me the opposite is true with solid evidence, I cannot accept the counter argument.  I only use art as a science-communication tool now.

But  if people don't show scientific theories and themes in the right way and use humour and hyperbole to twist and spin things like some artists are doing, how do artists communicate science properly to a layman? Even this one advantage of science-art interactions is being misused by some!Artists will freely admit that if there has to be a choice between scientific accuracy and artistic expression, the science is going to lose every time according to an artist (31)! I want to tell this artist, if this is the case, scientists will lose interest in art because accuracy is one of the most important aspect of science communication!!

Also after several interactions with artists around the world I must say I am not at all satisfied with the outcomes!

I asked several people who are working in the science-art arena to tell me how their work helped in the progress of science. To my surprise, I was never shown concrete evidence by any of the people I questioned. I always got evasive answers and superficial positive statements!  And of course some tried to make a few connections without evidence. I have been shown some works that looked like pure science-tech projects and when I asked the people who did them what has art or design got to do with them, I didn't get convincing answers.

I myself searched for evidence.  I got a few  papers written by people that worked with children. Yes, at the basic level art might increase the capabilities of  children with regard to science learning.  I have seen how forensic science is taking the help of artists to construct faces of victims and criminals from skulls and descriptions by witnesses. Some artists are working with social activists to bring awareness about ecological problems in the societies they live in.  But, what about scientific research where true advancement of science lies? Is there full proof evidence of art helping in the process of  scientific research? I read a report of a study  on the Nobel laureates' association with music.  And also a paper that vaguely says music might be linked to scientific research (8).   But these  don't really prove that music has actually helped these laureates and scientists in their work! Maybe they used it as a relaxation technique. How can vague reports justify the tall claims?   In multi-faceted geniuses several talents reside side by side. When creativity and critical thinking are embedded in a single brain, interactions do take place. The person simultaneously develops several skills. An article on  scientific American site says music might not be very helpful in making people smarter! (9) . A recent research (32) by scientists at Harvard University too states that there is no evidence that music can increase the cognitive abilities in children ( you can watch a video related to this research in the comments section below). And there is no longitudinal studies  to establish whether this is a causal link between math and music or whether these skills develop side by side (36). For example, students who are musically trained have been observed to have higher mathematics grades and standardized test scores, compared with students who have not studied music. Yet not all studies have found an association between these two sets of skills. Furthermore, research has yet to determine whether the proposed link can be explained by other confounding factors, such as socioeconomic background (for example, if you grow up in a household with good financial resources, you are more likely to be able to afford music lessons, attend a good school, and so on), motivation, educational setting or overall parental involvement. To identify whether superior math abilities are a direct result of musical training, we need longitudinal studies that measure mathematical skill before and after such training and that control for these variables. Another famous scientist at CERN, Dr. Gionotti, who is interested in music and playing piano, also says she uses it for just relaxation (27). Mental fatigue (tiredness) occurs  by over use of your logical and critical thinking brain activities and to lesson it scientists and intellectuals try to use artistic brain functions too. Scientists use art, sports and other extra curricular activities to get relaxed and cool their heated minds so that they can work more efficiently. 

But can art with its emotional background, help in the critical thinking whose success relies on emotion free atmosphere ( read another of my article on this whose link is given below). Can anybody give me answers to my questions?

I am trying to promote science-art interactions in Asia and India. What answers can I give people if they ask me to show proof of positive interactions? The examples I gave above are too little to convince people in this region and skeptics in the scientific world. They don't tally with the tall claims being made. I am also trying to get some funds for the science-art projects here. What evidence can I show the funding agencies?

Now let us go for the causes--

I feel Scientists should concentrate more on inventing innovative art science based technologies to help societies in the developing countries. Mere creation of science based art doesn’t go far enough in present day situations  and the developing world!  Leave the art part and antics to artists.  Scientists have a greater role to play in guiding and they should see that science-art interactions  take the right route.  Science-art interactions should be able to facilitate real progress of the human kind.

Contrary to what artists think (12), Science  already  has  in built- what the artists call- 'aspects of art' - like creativity, observing, imagination, visualization, imaging, pattern recognition, pattern invention analogizing, dimensional thinking, transforming data into visual and graphic forms, converting theories  into mechanical procedures etc. Scientists have been using  all these things successfully since ages (14)! What are X-ray and MRI imaging and angiograms - a process that allows doctors to view the flow of blood in blood vessels (15)? Art is already a part of science. Scientists have been dealing with structure and data visualization since ages(28).  There is nothing new in this. However, If artists want to make data visualization more easy and understandable to laymen and help in science communication, that would really be helpful. However,  I have seen some of the data getting lost in translation done by the artists in their experiments done in this regard. As a result people couldn't understand it properly and the pictures based on it failed to generate the questions they should have helped initiate (16,34).  I feel this situation arose because the artists themselves failed to understand the scientific data or don't have a grip on how to represent it and didn't take the help of scientists either to interpret it properly.

In a research conducted during a Bio-art exhibition in Austria, and the paper based on it "The experiences of bio-art exhibition visitors", the researchers say many complained about alack of information about scientific facts and scientific back-ground information. In other words, they saw the exhibition as a science communication activity that used artists to show the science in an aesthetically pleasing way but felt it was not satisfactory in terms of its “real” goal, namely informing about a particular scientific field (35).

Science itself has a little bit of creativity,  innovation and thinking in different ways than the normal. Whatever progress has been achieved till now is because of this inbuilt creativity of science.  (there is a fundamental difference between artistic creativity and scientific creativity [6,7]) What is the contribution of art in this? Aren't science -illustrations enough to communicate science? Can art show science themes and theories in a new light? Till now it didn't! And majority of artists are concentrating on illustration type of work! Why did the art world fail to convince the skeptics who refuse to accept the importance of art in the improvement of science ? Just mentioning the name of Leonardo da Vinci doesn't automatically give artists an entrance ticket to the world of science!

I think this situation is the result of the missteps being taken by some who are venturing into the sci-art arena. "Sensationalization" is the way they choose instead of "development" (18). Injecting a Horse's blood into their veins to feel like a horse in the name of Bio-art is one such thing (3)! Just mimetic effect of wanting to do what others are doing will not take you far enough. Without any real interest some are clinging to sci-art just by converting the names of 'landscape art' into 'Geo-art' and 'wild life art' into 'Eco-art' instead of jumping on the bandwagon of science-art.  Some art critics too are saying sci-art lacks science and clear direction ( 26)! Outright rejection of scientists' concerns and criticism without giving them a thought by artists is another worry. Some artists even said  during discussions in a forum scientists are 'Mental Animals' who lack emotions! When a scientist friend of mine objected to this, the artist and the others around her blatantly told him they did nothing wrong! After completing  a collaborative project between artists and scientists, to my utter shock, an artist started severely criticizing the scientists she worked with and took help from during the project work by calling them names!  Criticising and playful mocking of scientific processes by artists with their humour and lack of understanding which could again show the shallowness of their intentions (like this one: Art is vital to science because artists look to the future to do new things and scientists look to the past to justify doing nothing!).  You will not go anywhere by belittling another subject. Read this article to know how the author attacks science. If he wants to promote art in this way, I want to tell him, he miserably failed. How can the skeptics trust the tall claims of sci-artists after seeing all this then? One has to truly like a subject or believe in it to get inspired by it and create art from it or help it in its progress.

Another reason could be the fundamental difference between the scientific creativity and the artistic creativity . Artistic creativity might actually create problems during scientific research. Unless a person that has talents in several fields is able to differentiate between them and overcome the difficulties and able to connect properly the  ideas and thoughts and modify them to fruitfully evolve  creative ideas, it is extremely difficult for artistic creativity to help science (6,7).

People from the field of science must be practical. We cannot live on mere poetic statements. During the interactions with artists I have noticed a few pitfalls. Artists' obstinate obsession with unlimited freedom and refusing to accept the rules of science might have serious consequences on science  communication and research. Unlimited freedom of artists cannot fit into the rules of science! There are a few  good things associated with these interactions. And there are a few bad situations too! I have experienced all these.

Scientists are getting disinterested in the interactions when they see these outrageous behaviours of some artists. According to them all the progress made till now in the filed of science and technology that had revolutionized the world has been done without the help of artists and the interactions between the fields of science and art. Scientists know how to  go about things. They know how to measure the right amount of creativity required for the technologies to evolve and stick to it. They know when to stop the creative aspect and start the scientific adventure. They know how to fit creativity into the scientific laws  and invent new technologies. They know how to draw pictures in their minds to communicate their work. Recently one scientist said : the discovery of anti-matter was only made because of the imagination of those scientists who said maybe there is something there when they kept coming up with all these strange negative solutions to their calculations[1]. Scientists can imagine and imagine things creatively too. Mere imagination without knowledge is like having only wings and no feet.  What will your work stand on then? Real progress occurs only when  imagination is based on information! You need a deep understanding of science to actually manipulate concepts in novel ways and get creative in science (Even though I am from the field of science, I never claim I can do something drastic like finding out something new in physics or chemistry because my field is microbiology! Unless I work closely with physicists or chemists, I know how difficult it is to do that! ) The world has accepted several technological innovations from the world of science which have become  part of our cultures and daily lives!

However, there are a few science skeptics. If the scientists  are unable to overcome the cultural conditioning of the minds of these people, if they are unable to convince people about the benefits of scientific way of living, and the truthfulness of science, 'this way of sensationalism' followed by some science-artists doesn't help in the proper communication of science either! 

In a recent forum discussion between artists and scientists, I put before the sci-art community all the above things very frankly. As expected some artists rejected this without giving a thought and said this is not true and there are several examples of success. When I asked for proof, they disappeared without a trace! Another aspect brought before me by one artist is : "this has as a fundamental assumption the idea that art should in this context be a simple service to science; and further that its contributions and parameters, in order to be valid (or perhaps even extant), must be measurable through an unaltered lens of the traditional scientific paradigm". Now I want to ask the artist the question 'hasn't science served art?' You can read  here about 276 reports that tell how science is serving - I would prefer to use 'helping' - art. And there are several hundreds of reports like this that haven't been added here. Did ever scientists think in such a narrow way? Collaborations are all about helping. When science is helping art in innumerable ways, what is wrong in art helping science? We measured science's contribution to art and provided proof  too! All that we are asking the art world now is to show that that their claims are also true. What is wrong in scientists expecting some positive outcomes to their field too because of these interactions? There is another aspect too. As science's main aim is progress and development, by contributing to science, artists indirectly can contribute more towards these.

According to scientists, collaborations between scientists  of various countries and various disciplines of science have brought several benefits, such as the ability to share different skills and areas of specialist knowledge in sciences. It is thought in the scientific circles that the more countries and fields of science there are involved in science the more innovations we will have and the better off we shall be (21,22,23,30).

Collaborations do not succeed in many situations.. A critical condition for their success is the existence of a shared body of knowledge and techniques, which Nielsen calls a shared praxis. A shared praxis does not exist when there is disagreement over basic values. Such disagreements destroy collaborations, for arguments cannot be settled. Arguments can be resolved only if there is general agreement on standards for what it means for analyses or procedures to be valid or correct.  The necessity of shared praxis suggests that conceptual thinkers will generally collaborate with other conceptualists and experimentalists with experimentalists. Because the conceptualists and experimentalists think so differently and approach problems from different directions, it is unlikely that they will share sufficient values to make collaboration effective (17). Therefore, it is essential for the people of both the communities to come together with open minds rather than casual approach. But I didn't see this open minded approach during the interactions and discussions with artists around the world  I was involved in. To know why I think so please read on.

It was also said  by some artists during my discussions with them: "Terms used so far like "proof", "evidence", imply that art is the discipline that must mold itself around rigid and fixed boundaries provided by science. To the contrary, in order to be effective, in a collaboration between disciplines, each must ask the other to consider the paradigms, value systems, and measurement modalities of the other". Okay I want to say here as an artist I already know how art values are measured. In fact I wrote an article on the differences between the measurements in art and science. Now I want to ask if artists want to communicate science during the collaborations,  can they communicate science properly if they change or twist the scientific theories? If their ideas or thoughts don't fit into the natural laws, how can they succeed in the scientific world? I have already done  reports and reviews of several ( at least ten in the last two months) sci-art projects where I have shown flaws starting from framing theories, methodologies used to doing observations and coming to conclusions. In art you can have unlimited freedom. In sci-art, yes, your success depends on how well you can mold your ideas around natural laws. Otherwise you might not succeed.

I was also told - the fundamental difficulty is and will be that this outcome is most likely only possible for those science practitioners who are able to expand the way they define "seeing", truly open to alternate ways of looking at the boundaries of their discipline, and the ways in which progress is measured.  Earlier an artist said,  "If the artists' ideas don't fit into natural laws, change the laws!" Now this! If artists come to the world of science and try to change the rules of natural laws and science, they will be shown the door! Because science cannot work properly without them. In my field anybody who is entering our Microbiology labs has to take a few precautions. If you don't, general public's health gets affected. So I am more concerned about the welfare of public at large than some artistic freedom or ideas like taking the microbes out of the lab without following the precautions! But still I am open to seeing alternate ways - provided they are at least convincing to majority of the scientific community.

Strict old-style boundaries like the ones assumed to exist between art and science are eroding, according to some artists,  and  traditional dichotomies such as intellect versus emotion, reason versus intuition, and the poetic versus the practical, are becoming less distinct under the influence of unprecedented communication networks and analytical tools that revealing higher resolution and greater clarity the complex layers of things and ideas (10).

Are they? If this is truly happening in the field of science because of science art interactions, it is really bad for science. Because intellect, reason and practical are the life lines of science. Emotions and intuitions are not at all good.

Artists are coming into the sci-art arena with several misconceptions about science (20) which again I think is not a good way of  dealing with the subject.

Artistic studies are different from scientific research. In artistic studies, I have noted, speculation, beliefs and the opinion of the author plays a major role in coming to a conclusion. While scientific research and conclusions need proof beyond doubt.Most of the science-art papers are based on ‘artistic studies’ rather than ‘scientific research’ and therefore need not be true.

In the end it was suggested it would be better if we didn't expect much  from these interactions ( then don't make tall claims!). Yes, let us have some nice time, inquire about each others' welfare and fields and then depart. If we get good outcomes from these interactions that is okay if we don't get them it is alright but let us not stress that point of benefits! I am sorry, developed countries might have funds to spare for such 'social gatherings' between people of various disciplines but such  things will not be accepted in developing countries ( also  don't waste the precious  time of scientists with silly meetings that don't yield any results). Here we have to show positive work for each penny, cent or paise given to us! If you want to restrict yourselves to only certain developed areas of the world and don't want sci-art to spread to all the areas of the world,  you can ignore our concerns. Again this shows the true intentions of these people.

Then I turned to other scientists and asked whether their work  showed any progress because of these interactions with artists. One of them said,  "Avoid posing questions that seem to require simplistic answers". I was bewildered. "Avoid posing questions?" This coming from a computer scientist?! All the while I thought intellectuals (25) ask some tough questions and seek answers and they themselves provide them too! While I was wondering what the simplistic answers were and why people were trying to avoid my questions, one friend said: " "Krishna, you must be naive to ask these questions. Any scientist who is involved in these interactions  will not say the truth because speaking truth will make more enemies".  I was still bewildered. 'Are these people afraid of the other half of collaborations? That is why they aren't saying the truth? Are they playing it safe?' My friend smiled at my bewilderment and said, " Not only that if you speak truth, you won't get funds!" 

I felt sick. Is this true? Here I am wanting to get funds with the help of positive truth. And  am I trying to get help from people  who are attempting to cover up the negative truth to get funds? Now I feel truth will not come out so easily. Who or what is the loser in all this? SCIENCE! And of course SCIENCE ART. I am already hearing  SOS messages!

I was told by my artist friends in the US this was happening because the funds had been dried up in the US (11) and other Western countries  ( might be due to the recession ) for arts and artists were trying to search for other means to promote art by combining it with science and business and exaggerating the importance of art in other fields.  Also it seems arts had been drastically cut from American public schools. So artists are using the weapon of 'creativity' to promote art by saying they can bring all round development and progress with arts and creativity.

I can understand this - it is a question of survival for artists - but why exaggerate things? Can't we find out the truth at least in the future when we don't get the desired results? Who are these promoters of art trying to hoodwink ( conceal one's true motives from especially by elaborately feigning good intentions so as to gain an end)? What is worse is they are resorting to attacks and bullying when things are being questioned instead of giving proper answers! Lashing out at people for simply reporting the truth, a truth that helps the scientific process along. Doubt is the null hypothesis, the default state. It is up to people to show why we should believe their suppositions. If they can’t do it with good science, then their ideas may not be ripe, they may be wrong, or not yet provable. But to abandon doubt, to replace it with legal threats, essentially saying, “believe what I write and say and if you don’t, don’t tell” corrupts this process. It also makes people who work in science-art arena may simply be wrong look like they might have something to hide.

People are unable to answer even simple questions like how they are trying to 'culturize science' ! How can they do more good to science? I myself faced this shocking situation:  I had to explain artists what culturization of science means! People lose faith in science-art movement when they realize the truth. Whatever little benefits we get during the interactions too get jeopardized when unacceptable methods are used.

Most of the positive statements about these interactions are coming from the art world.  And from  the technology assisted art front. Because it is easy for the artists  just to say they succeeded and their work can have positive impact on the world. Some say there is a history of the indirect ways in which  discoveries come about that cannot be captured by citing single items ( I agree, scientists have developed new methods based on one or two artistic procedures, especially during the earlier centuries). It was suggested to me that  some fields of science are so associated with technology that it makes little sense to separate science and technology and one must see the positive outcomes from the technology front. Although I come from a region where technology or applied sciences haven't developed much, I think science and technology cannot be treated as separate entities. Yes, there are reports of one or two positive outcomes of interactions  in the technology sector whose ideas have also been simultaneously developed by the scientific world. I have seen some of these technologies being developed at the same time by different people from different parts of the world, sometimes concepts taken from one field and place to another one in a global village, to which  any single individual or group cannot claim full credit! Who is influencing whom here and which field is helping which one here?  Can you tell with certainty? Patent and copyright disputes around the world tell  several big stories! When artists use the ideas of applied sciences to modify artistic practices with the help of scientists (24) can they claim they are responsible for 'inventing or discovering' new things? There are several controversies with regard to artists' claims (29,18,19).

However, what worries me the most is the positive spins that are being given by some people who are vigorously promoting sci-art to the negative reports about sci-art interactions.  Instead of accepting the truth, analysing the problems and correcting the situations, this playing with truth will not help improve the situation. Mere words don't suffice to convince the world of science. We need solid evidence. So,  how are the artists and promoters of sci-art going to convince the scientists and skeptics about the seriousness and their good intentions? Artists' obsession with unlimited freedom doesn't fit into scientific activity without affecting the work. Are they willing to control this freedom and try to fit creativity into the laws of science? How are they going to convince the world about the benefits they want to bring to the world of science in the form of creative innovation? Do artists have convincing answers to these questions and antidotes to the fears? Only future can tell! And don't forget that  the future of these interactions depends mostly on their present outcomes!                 

       (I am told the 'results in the US might be different' from those of Europe . But I am still waiting to see them with proof . Till now none came!)

{  Of course, I support the collaborations between artists and scientists. But still I want to project the truth as it should be done like  people from the field of science do - so that everybody would think about it and correct the situation. Positivity doesn't mean ignoring the problems and pretending they don't exist at all, thinking that everything is going all right and only hoping for the best. Positivity is accepting the criticism in the right way, thinking about it and taking steps to correct the situation. }

Please read the comments below too.

Read other discussions on the same topic here:

and here:













12. nsead Digest, Vol 18, Issue 1













25.  (We spend a lot of time acquiring intelligence at the expense of developing intellect.Intelligence is built by gaining information, knowledge from external agencies, from schools and universities, teachers and textbooks. The intellect is developed through your individual effort by exercising the faculty of questioning, thinking and reasoning. Not accepting anything that does not admit logic or reason. Know the difference between the two. And that any amount of intelligence gained cannot per se build your intellect.)












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Comment by Sharath on December 26, 2019 at 2:25pm
I guess, I’d value an Arts degree student too now!
Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on January 17, 2014 at 7:37am

I am a scientist, artist, writer, poet etc. etc.I communicate science through art and literature too. I fully agree with the above comment and not with the article.Science is not art. It is a different ball game altogether. Science's creativity is different from the creativity of art. Don't confuse one with the other. A scientist need not go deep into arts to be a real human being - science has a human aspect too. Don't waste your time on unnecessary things! Science has its own culture. Only thing is we have to do things in the right way. I wrote extensively on all these issues as I have experience in several fields and posted my articles on my science-art-literature interaction network. Artists, while training scientists in communicating science are using some unrealistic methods, which are making science communication a big joke.People say they are no way better now in understanding science after watching and seeing some science videos and art works done by artists! First of all do artists understand science as well as scientists do to put them in a better position? No! They argue with you, refuse to accept criticism, say scientists are mental animals, and drive you out of the collaborations! This is the real experience of some of the scientists collaborating with artists ( Before artists start attacking me,I want to emphasize here not all artists are bad, some are really good, I don't want to generalize people and things.) There is no proof till now that scientists who are engaging with artists are benefiting in any way till now.
Yes, if scientists themselves communicate with the outside world through art and literature it is okay. If they learn better communication techniques - not the ones practiced by artists because some of the methods are cheap gimmicks - it is good. Don't scientists in the regions they grew up in know about their own cultures? Do they have to learn it again from the artists or through humanities? Use cultural practices to engage people more in science.
After several years of experience, my advice is- engage with arts and literature on your own. Not with the people who practice them. Become better communicators using scientific methods. Science is not inferior to art in the communicating process - just remove the complicated jargon. Connect with people in the right way! These things will help you.


Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on December 14, 2013 at 5:34am

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on September 16, 2013 at 7:29am

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on August 24, 2013 at 8:20am
Read here how artists were trying to emphasize how they can help in S. research. After reading all that I think what they say is nothing new. Just a few artists helping scientists in getting though the environmental problems to laymen! Science communication!

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on August 7, 2013 at 6:44am

There is a real asymmetry on the international art science scene . In our recent SEAD White Papers Study for the NSF the demographics of some 200 people involved in the white papers only some 15% were practicing scientists and most of the scientists tend to think of involvement of the arts only for science education or dissemination purposes not for collaborations that nourish their scientific Research ! roger

Reply to the above comment by an artist: In collaborations with scientists, I have often found, as an artist, that it is difficult from the outset to convince them of the value of art practice and theory. I agree with the papers quoted by Roger. There is real asymmetry. I think that this in part arises because most scientists operate in very a different academic, institutional and financial environment from most artists. That may well be okay, but it also means that artists will most likely never come to nourish scientific research.

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on July 24, 2013 at 5:25am
Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on June 30, 2013 at 7:05am
Controversies on artists' claims

Some notes:

Project Pandrogeny ended in 2007 when Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge sadly died.

Eduardo Kac never did anything with a rabbit. A lab was producing GFP bunnies, he hoped to buy one and bring it home, re-contextualizing an organism modified for scientific testing purposes as a domestic pet. Once he started talking about it, the lab balked, and changed their mind about bringing Alba home. Popular discussion (doubly) mistakenly talked about how an artist had made a "glowing" bunny, so a project that was entirely conceptual got turned into an imaginary act of artistic mad-sciencing.

Kac has drawn inspiration from Joe Davis from MIT, who has been working with inserting information into various organisms's DNA for a while, has designed artwork for space, built his own prosthetic leg, and a whole lot more. For some reason information on his projects has always been relatively scarce, despite being called "the father of bio-art."

Gail Wight is another well-known artist working with biology, psychology, genetics and evolution. A "zoo kit" made of purified DNA of various zoo animals. A drug that (theoretically) dampens emotional response. Living sculptures and drawings made by manipulating various bacteria and slime-molds.

George Gessert has been shaping the evolution of plants specifically as part of his artistic practice since the '70s.

See also: The Tissue Culture & Art Project (growing living tissue "sculptures"), Anna Dumitriu (robotics, neuro-science, microbiology), Natalie Jeremijenko (robotics, plant biology), etc.

I was surprised that the author didn't mention Kac's flower that has his genes expressed in the veins of a petunia

Does anybody know if Kac actually participates in the biotech? The article gives me the impression that he pays technicians to make his "art" for him.

Last time I was in an art show with Kac (which admittedly was quite some time ago), a lab was doing the actual work of synthesizing the DNA and inserting it into organisms according to his specifications. (Except for the GFP bunny, which was an existing "product" he was simply hoping to buy.) But the art is bigger than just the organisms.

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on June 21, 2013 at 6:50am

Socratic Method by
Kenneth J. Maxwell…

“Convictions, when held too tightly, blind us in a way that traps us within our own opinions. Although this protects us from uncomfortable ambiguities and troublesome contradictions, it also makes us comfortable with stagnation and blocks the path to improved understanding. In other words, without the capacity to question ourselves the possibility of real thinking ceases. If people are not able to question their own ideas they cannot be thoughtful at all. When unacknowledged or unquestioned assumptions dominate the mind, thoughtfulness becomes a danger and the human aspiration to improve and grow in understanding becomes a slave to fear. The goal of the Classic Socratic Method is to help people by freeing their desire for understanding from the harmful limitations that come through clinging to the false securities of their current knowing. People who experience the effect, which arises from being a recipient of the first phase of the Socratic Method are freed from the shackles of confidence in their knowing. This affords them the optional freedom of thinking about an issue with a greater quality of thoughtfulness. Reactions to this effect can be diverse. They range from embracing the experience with zeal to seeking to remove oneself from the situation.

Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on May 24, 2013 at 4:43am




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