The paper reflects upon the integration of academic‑scientific methods and artistic strategies for art and technology projects that address user participation in socially defined domains. It addresses the difficulties in combining classroom teaching and experimental artistic project work in that each belongs to a different set of epistemology and pedagogical discourse. The paper describes its field of inquiry, namely art and technology student projects as being part of an extended art field. These projects deploy, firstly, artistic strategies and forms of expression that are the result of the cultural autonomy of art and secondly, scientific knowledge and methods from engineering, social science and the humanities alike. Consequently, these projects’ trajectories can neither respect the purposeless autonomy of art or the academic discourse of finding solutions to well‑defined problems. What kind of methodology can accommodate this seemingly paradoxical situation? The paper proposes Luhmann’s relative difference between medium (loosely coupled elements) and form (tightly coupled constituents) as a theoretical and heuristic tool for productive interferences between artistic and scientific methods. Art and technology projects operate within a field of existing forms (e.g., social patterns, urban and interior spaces, etc.), which must be de‑coupled prior to decisions related to novel forms. Art as novel re‑couplings is often considered as the artistic impetus per se, where form yields its own medium. But re‑coupling and new‑coupling is intrinsically bound to the decoupling process. Due to the complexity and aim of art and technology (or art and science) projects, the de‑coupling/re‑coupling/new‑coupling process necessitates a combination of various scientific and artistic methods. The paper elaborates upon and exemplifies the proposed heuristic through various art and technology projects as part of university teaching.
- Falk Heinrich, DK, PhD, Associate Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark, Head of Studies (School of Communication, Art and Technology). Falk Heinrich holds a MA in dramaturgy and multimedia and a PhD in interactive installation art. He teaches art theory and aesthetics, interactive dramaturgy and artistic methodology. He worked as a theatre actor and director and installation artist. His theoretical investigations continue to develop in close relation to practical, artistic work. Heinrich is affiliated with the research group RELATE (Research Laboratory for Art and Technology) at Aalborg University
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