SCI-ART LAB

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

Why are Science-artists facing difficulties in the art world?

Recently a friend of mine who deals with Maths and art combination said these words:

The art I create is made of fractals. Fractals are sets of numbers that when graphed show a repeating pattern. This is several fractals, they have been manipulated and composed into a piece of abstract art. Odd, isn't it that a mathematical construct based on abstract ideas formuated abstract art...a truly abstract painting. I worked many hours on it, in many stages on several pieces of software. I call it 'Picaso's Eye' maybe I should call it 'Mandlebrot's Eye' instead. You know each year I submit one of my pieces of fractal art to a show I enter and it is never chosen. No fractal is. The artists don't consider a fractal art. I would challenge anyone, anywhere to recreate this piece of art from scratch. They wouldn't be able to...too many steps of artist decisions. A scientist's path into the art world is not a welcome one.

Another example to say that some artists hate Digital Art

In an art-related group, a war is raging between those who like digital art and some really die-hard machine-hating artistic traditionalists. One of the more extreme Luddites posted this priceless gem:

"'Digital art' is not 'ART' period!!! And I am sorry to say this, but digital artists are not true artists. They don't go through all the suffering, happiness, joy, and everything in between that the real artists go through when they are creating a work of art. Digital artists just play with the new toy called 'computer' and for this nobody needs any talent; the computer is doing their work for them."

What an absurd statement?!

Another science-artist told me she had sent one of her science-art project proposals for consideration for an art show recently. It seems she spent lots of time on it and made a very good proposal that could have a positive effect on the whole world and she was confident it would definitely be chosen. But to her utter dismay, her proposal was placed last out of 300 proposals obtained for the art show! 'I don't mind even if my proposal is not selected for the show but placing it last is what I cannot digest', the shocked sci-artist lamented.

Some even say you cannot create art by using formulas and rules. So science is a no-no to them.

These are not one or two instances. Several of my sci-artist friends told me they never got selected for any prizes, awards, or won any competition with science themed entries!


Why is the art world so against science-art and science and technology assisted art? Not all artists and people in the art world are averse to the word science but majority of them are, which is quite disturbing. It is important to understand the causes and address them in a systematic way for the sci-artists to move forward in the art world.  Let us consider the possible explanations now.

During the Renaissance era polymaths like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo stressed the need to integrate Art and science for an all round development of the human minds and great personalities. Then art and literature were closely tied to science. These artist-scientists saw no distinction between the three disciplines. Leonardo da Vinci famously mastered both art and science, blending them in some of his greatest innovations. He used his scientific knowledge to create great art works and used illustrations to explain his scientific ideas. Galileo’s love for the arts profoundly shaped his thinking, and in many ways helped paved the way for his scientific discoveries.

However, people tried to separate science, art and literature into different fields in the later period and put them into a conflict mode. Some even created artificial boundaries reinforcing them with exclusiveness and intolerance. We are now realizing the futility of such a move of divisive tactics and the importance of a Renaissance person who can utilize these three in a unified state for obtaining remarkable results. Einstein highlighted this point  and said his imagination and child-like creativity allowed him to reach his scientific conclusions. Some artists are coming forward to embrace science.

But, several still are refusing to come out of the conflict zone and the cultural conditioning of the  minds of such people are refusing to see the obvious benefits of integrating science, art and literature. I myself have observed hatred towards science and scientists among some artists (Ref1) during a collaborative meeting.

 People usually like things that are familiar to them. It is in the nature of human beings to look for what confirms their beliefs and ignore what contradicts them. This is called as "CONFIRMATION BIAS" by psychologists. Can people in the art field overcome their beliefs and love for familiar things and support science based work? Even if they support can they elevate their  mental make up to an unbiased state to give awards and prizes to the ones based on science? I fear we still have to wait for a long time for that to happen.

Science itself is a difficult subject for some artists to adapt to it. There will a mental block for the subject. So it is important for scientists to make it easy for artists to grasp the subject. When some scientists tried to do that artists thought there is no difference between science and art!

Do artists and art critics who are judges first understand the science themes like they do other ones to judge them properly? You can read one of my articles on this aspect here: http://kkartlab.in/group/Criticisms/forum/topics/art-critics-answer...

Moreover the fear of science taking over the art field and trying to dominate and controlling it is prevalent among some artists. Some complain that the aesthetic part of art will be compromised if art marries science.

I feel all these are baseless fears and  an attempt should be made by people from the scientific community to bridge these gaps and bring people together for the mutual benefit of various fields.

And until there is a change in the mindset of the art world, sci-artists don't try to submit your works to general competitions. Instead try only science based art competitions.

Ref 1: http://kkartlab.in/profiles/blogs/sorry-we-cannot-collaborate-with-...

To be contd...

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