The Art-Science Interface
Andrew Yang, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
C.P. Snow’s notion that the arts and the sciences represent “two cultures” has come to characterize their largely divergent paths in terms of education, research, public support, and popular conception in the U.S. At the same time, it is often argued that there is a strong if not fundamentally synergistic connection between them as creative endeavors. A recent upsurge of interest in the interfaces between the arts and the sciences has begun to take shape over the past ten years through a variety of conferences, books, university initiatives, as well as large NSF funded projects that seek to establish arts-based learning within STEM curricula. The diverse and multifaceted approaches to art-and-science are as varied as the communities and audiences they seek to engage. Some claim that this form of interdisciplinarity signals a new renaissance, with the potential to not only help reimagine basic scientific research and the public understanding of science, but also to “shape the 21st century workforce” to the most innovative and creative in history. Others doubt the substantive conceptual role art or artists can play in science, while there is also great skepticism about the dynamics within art and science collaborations given differences in funding, creative goals, and standards of evaluation. This session brings together researchers who have worked broadly in the visual arts as well as science & engineering to discuss this exciting, emergent - and sometimes contentious - frontier in science today.
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Snow, C.P. 1960. The Two Cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Yang, A.S. 2011. Interdisciplinarity as critical inquiry: Visualizing the art/bioscience interface. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 36(1): 42-54.