[hackerspaces] NEA Considers Funding HackerSpaces [Fwd: [Yasmin_an] Alt.Art-Sci]

Stewart Dickson MathArt at Emsh.CalArts.edu
Thu Sep 23 18:52:42 CEST 2010

  See introduction and "Art-Science Creativity by Whom? ", below --Stewart

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[Yasmin_an] Alt.Art-Sci
Date: 	Wed, 22 Sep 2010 22:05:23 +0200
From: 	roger malina <rmalina at alum.mit.edu>
Reply-To: 	YASMIN ANNOUNCEMENTS <yasmin_announcements at estia.media.uoa.gr>
To: 	yasmin_announcements <yasmin_announcements at estia.media.uoa.gr>


there is now a blog discussion going on the US National Endowment for
the Arts (nea) WEB SITE = as a folllow up to the joint workshop
between the US national
science foundation and the nea= join the discussion to help us convince these
funding agencies to fund art science collaboration in the US !

roger malina

Alt.Art-Sci: We Need New Ways of Linking Arts and Sciences


A recent National Science Foundation (NSF)-National Endowment for the
Arts workshop sought to re-think the ways that the arts and sciences
are being linked today and how the agencies might jointly promote new
emerging areas of research and cultural development. Participants
included artists, scientists, and research engineers, but also
university deans and directors of alternative art-science spaces.

This first workshop focused on computer science and information
technology; a forthcoming NSF-NEA workshop will look at the arts and
the biological sciences. Next year the NSF Informal Education Division
is sponsoring an art-science workshop “Art as a Way of Knowing” at the
San Francisco Exploratorium, one of the pioneering institutions that
has coupled creative artists with scientists and engineers for more
than forty years.

So why this new attention to the coupling of the arts and sciences?
The topic has been hotly debated for several hundred years at least,
ever science the scientific revolution led to separate science
institutions decoupled from the arts and humanities. The 19th century
saw prominent figures such as Goethe active in both the arts and
sciences. Samuel Morse, the inventor of the Morse code, was a painter.
In the 1920s and 1930s the Bauhaus movement recoupled the creative
arts with science and industry. In the 1950s C.P. Snow’s “two
cultures” debate rekindled initiatives to bridge the arts and
sciences. In the 1960s, Experiments in Art and Technology led to the
coupling of artists such as Rauschenberg with engineers such as Billy
Kluver. So what’s new?

At Home on the Range, the “Digital” Range

The first thing is that the ‘born digital’ generation artists find
themselves at home in the landscape of information technologies. The
NSF Creative IT program recognized this burgeoning area of research.
The NEA’s Audience 2.0 How Technology Influences Arts Participation
highlighted the new ways, and growing audiences, for art that is being
created and distributed through the digital electronic media. The born
digital generation is innovating new ways of personal expression
within the information technologies landscape; it has become second
nature for artists of all types to use computers and to push the
development of computers in new directions to address artistic needs.
New “creative” and entertainment industries have resulted.

Art-Science Creativity by Whom?

Perhaps ironically, creativity was almost a dirty word by the end of
the NSF-NEA workshop because it is overused and often not clearly
defined. Creativity by whom and for what? What was clear was that
there is a new dynamic and rapidly evolving group of artists,
scientists, and engineers working together, a networked “community of
practice” that also comes together through a variety of “communities
of interest.”*Most of these creative individuals or teams work in
informal settings from nonprofit groups to the hacker, “make”,
community and alternative arts centers, and citizens and peoples
science movements. An important issue is how to network and cross feed
these hacker, “make,” and community groups with the more formal
institutional programs in universities, and art and design schools.*

Art-Science Creativity for What?

“Creativity for What” was another leitmotif reflecting a concern that
technology-driven innovation needs to be contextualized first by
social and cultural needs, with examples from community-based
organizations faced with urban renewal, societal issues such as
climate change and energy sustainability, or the technological
transformation of health issues. Our Town,the proposed NEA program for
the arts and urban redevelopment perhaps provides one example context
that could motivate new art-science agendas. There are many burning
issues in our lives and communities that give us no choice but to link
the arts and sciences.

Art-Science Creativity: Innovation in Innovation

Another thread was the idea that we need to innovate in creativity
thinking itself. We need to innovate in innovation when faced with the
big data flood, distributed networked knowledge, and the impact of
digital culture on how the arts and sciences are embedded in society.
The recent Macarthur report on Learning Institutions in the Digital
Age  as well as the National Research Council’s Beyond Productivity:
Information Technology, Innovation, and Creativity report provide good
starting points. As we evolve toward networked culture and knowledge,
the ‘partitions and divisions’ within funding institutions and
universities seem mal-adapted to the rapidly changing locus of multi-,
inter-, and trans-disciplinary artistic practice, and more
particularly the rapidly changing landscape of art-science


The phrase “Alt-Art-Sci” emerged a number of times during the
discussions as a way of capturing the sense of unease that “business
as usual” approaches will miss the mark. We need to “innovate in
innovation” and find other approaches to work in the new emerging
networked culture. We need to look at where the most exciting
creativity is occurring, and we need to look at the burning issues in
our communities and how harnessing new couplings of science,
engineering, and cultural approaches can be part of creating a
sustainable society.


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