Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Research Mandate

I have explored the subject of the relationship between human and media technology, ("Untitled Performance"), and technology and organics ("Organic Digital Frames"). This project is an extension of that exploration - of technology and a journey to the interior of my human
body. It is an exploration of art and science and their interaction.

In this research, I am looking into such subjects as Michel Foucault and his theories on power, knowledge and the body. I am also researching artists who use blood as a medium in the expression of their work. I came across a book by Martin Kemp, a disguished art historian, who wrote "Seen/Unseen", and is in step with the ideas I am exploring. This book examines themes of imagery in art and science, "which reflect shared structural intuitions about the seen and the unseen world of nature". (Seen/Unseen, M. Kemp) Kemp was trained in both the fields of science and art, much like Leonardo da Vinci, of the Renaissance art movement, and one of Kemp's favorite subjects. Da Vinci applied many scientific principles to his works, such as the principle of linear perspective in "The Last Supper".

Both science and art are based on the idea of "wonder", investigation, and amazement. There is form and beauty inherent when we look at images using scientific investigation, as portrayed in the "Life Illuminated" Science Show. This project invited the works of scientists and multi-media artists throughout the world to particpate in the artistic expression of organic forms. Their work reveals how both disciplines overlap, as da Vinci's scientific investigations inform his paintings. Technology has given us the tools to investigate the interiors of the human body. Similarly, for da Vinci in his time -art and science are both means of inquiry, and search for truths and facts. By scientifically observing the anatomy of the human body with whatever means were available to him (actual models of body parts when he could obtain them), he was able to represent realistic images of the human form and human expression.

There is form, beauty and function at both the macro level and micro level. Spatial images, such as those you see when looking through a telescope at celestial bodies, and when you look through a microscope, for example at my blood, are the same. The universe is revealed on both scales. This idea exists no matter what the magnification: whether it is the universe in its infinite scale, or looking through a microscope at the structures of the body at a subatomic level.

John Noestheden, artist and professor at the University of Regina, explores the themes of science (astronomy) and art and their interrelationship. His recent exhibit at the Dunlop Gallery, "Time and Space, shows works of "astronomical imagery". The works explore the universe beyond the borders of planet earth. His gaze is to look at the greater picture of the universe on the macro level, contrasted to but in the same vein as my project which views life on a micro level. In Noestheden's words, we are gazing at a reflection of ourselves when we look outward into space.

"When we leave the planet, our energy is dissipated and goes back into the universe. We are the universe, and we are reflected in it. When you look at the universe, you are looking at yourself." (Artist's Talk, Dunlop Gallery)

To investigate the question: Is science art? Images of science are art because humans naturally respond to the order that science provides. "Signataures of the Invisible" was an art exhibition in London, that "was motivated by the belief that artistic practice, if it is to have meaning in the modern world, cannot derive from the artist's subjectivity alone, but demands engagement between the artist's intra-psychic (subjective or intuitive) processes and the external world in which we live". Those processes depend on the discourse between the two disciplines: science and art practices. Although scientists and artists do not train in the same way, both disciplines are sound methods of exploring the nature of our universe. Some examples of this approach are: For the artist, color is a visual fact, but for physicists, it can relate to temperature. For the artist, a surface is where you place things such as paint, where for a physicist, it is the "outermost part of the body, and may be associated with levels of energy". For the film-maker, units of time is 24 frames per second; for the physicist it may be a matter of femtoseconds". ("Signataures of the Invisible", London Institute).

Martin Kemp's book, "Seen/Unseen" expresses the interrelationship between art and science well when he says imagery is not about art, is not about science, but it is the interaction of one upon the other, and as stated earlier, it underlies the "universal intuitions" that are shared
between the two.

image 1: "Light, Scale and Colour at nano scale", Daniel Sauter.
Large prints and installation, 500 square feet

image 2: "Atomic Chain of Gold Atoms", Heinrich Jaeger.
Prints, 9 feet wall space.

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