laboratoirecambridge01“The Negation of Time, Prologue” at Le Laboratoire, by William Kentridge with Peter Galison and Philip Miller (Photograph by Phase One Photography)

It’s possible that scientists and artists may have one side of their brain more dominant than the other, with the broadly opposite characteristics of logic and creativity, but the best innovations in both fields tend to come from using the whole mind. In an attempt to instigate such mental dialogues between science and art, a new exhibition and laboratory space called the Lab Cambridge is opening up in Kendall Square in in Cambridge, Massachusetts, next year. via hyperallergic

I have split feelings about this. I’m all for this sort of collaborations and for creating new proposals, expanding the fields and all that. I very much enjoy the results but have one concern, that doesn’t directly relate to art & science coming together but rather concerns how much technology is influencing artists’ ability NOT TO DISPUTE (instead of pushing their ability to dispute). It doesn’t have to be one way or the other, but there should be space for non academic artists, artists not working in communities, artists not working in residencies, artists not studying philosophy, artists not doing yoga, artists not doing transcendental meditation, artists not being vegetarians. There should be space for artists doing TAd’s and ZAD’s, artists doing LSD, artists being self destructive, artists being immediate, artists being figurative, artists being artivists, artists being radically-self-sufficient elms.

Thinking about the possible relations between art & science, I recall Zielinski’s saying about the process of investigation: “True and fruitful collaboration between the arts and sciences can only develop, however, if both sides respect each others different areas of competence and different talents and skills and make them productive.” (2011, p.303)Though they both value the process and discredit the relevance of the object as a commodity, the hybrid art/technology, as its brother art/science takes the risk of having no autonomy, no pulse or language of its own.

Because in our limited sensible capacity, we aren’t able to accompany what technology keeps offering us, we can’t help but be seduced by the city lights, the white noise, even if they have no real eco at the core of our perception because they have no meaning. Processes make us believe that everything is possible. Though there are a lot of good examples of artists using technology to embody ideas (see Haapoja or Bismarck, for example), most of the artists overwhelmed by techne can’t disassociate the technological potential from the megalomaniac dream that enables an overdose of pop culture.

And so the sculpting of a tree naturally gives way to steel walls. And so Photoshop occupies the place of the conventional darkroom. Nowadays, the photographer, sitting at his/her desk, uses a software with which, apparently, he/she can do anything, forgetting that what is out of sight and sound still takes its place in action. The smell of the laboratory, working in the dark, they are part of the work and influence the decision making process. Craft and technology occupy different places and over-comparing them can stop one from analyzing their full potential in what they are by definition, and not by opposition. I see the problem relying in the fact that men and women, with their uncontrollable need of power, use technology the same way they approach urban architecture, as a way to climb, so it is inevitable that sooner or later they levitate and say nature bye bye. text by Sofia Silva

ZIELINSKI, S. (2011) Thinking about Art after the media: Research as practised culture of Experiment. In: Biggs e Karlsoon, (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts. London: Routledge. pp.293-312

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