[ISEA2011] Paper: Florian Wiencek & Timothy J. Senior – Art >< Science: An Ontology


Historically, notions of art and science have fluctuated in the degree of their [in]compatibility. With the re-emergence of art as a tool through which biological knowledge is being explored, unexpected relationships between traditional scientific and artistic practices are beginning to materialize. Beyond the incorporation of scientific imagery into works of art, the increasing commercialization of research technologies within the fields of molecular and cell biology now permits artists to use biological research methods in their pursuit of artistic form and expression. From transgenic chimeras to semi-living ‘bio-constructions’, artists are producing works that transcend the boundaries of these two cultures of inquiry, allowing artists to explore ethical and social implications surrounding scientific research. This idea of a ‘third culture’ further raises the question of whether art and science practices can inform each other in a more mutually symbiotic way; notions of the ‘performative’ in science (exemplified in the work of Hans Diebner), as a methodological tool for exploring behavior in simulated complex biological and mathematical systems, represents one such striking direction.

Within the increasingly diverse body of Art-Science inspired work, boundaries are being crossed at the levels of conception, method/process, publication as well as reception. To better understand these points of cross-over in contemporary work, a new ontology is required that effectively captures these multiple conceptual, contextual, content and time based properties and processes, something we are currently developing. For this project we will be building on V2’s research on ‘Capturing Unstable Media’ (2004), as well as the research of Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Media.?Art.?Research.

For artists, and indeed scientists, active in this area, a greater awareness of such relationships may be highly beneficial not only in the development of new works but also in devising new methods for the communication and re-exploration of the scientific process; its premises, processes and observations.

  • Florian Wiencek (B.Sc. in Digital Media – 2006; M.A. in Art and Cultural Mediation – 2009; University of Bremen, Germany) is currently PhD fellow at Jacobs University Bremen, and Steering Committee Member of the Research Center “Visual Communication and Expertise”, after working as research associate in the BMBF-funded project „Visual–Film–Discourse“ (Jacobs University Bremen) and freelance graphic designer. His main research interests are digital archives, (mediation of) media art as well as digital culture and communication. He is currently working on the topic of mediation of media art using digital media, especially online archives and platforms. He has written on the documentation of interactive art, digital archives as mediation-medium for media art and online art mediation.
  • Dr. Timothy J. Senior is a Visiting Junior Fellow at the centre for Visual Communication and Expertise (VisComX) at Jacobs University and a Junior Fellow at the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg, both in Germany. He completed his D.Phil. in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford in 2008, following which he held a visiting artist residency at Duke University in the US until 2010. In addition to his undergraduate teaching, which spans a wide range of interdisciplinary perspectives related to the brain sciences, Dr. Senior is also conducting research into the application of contemporary art practices to the communication of knowledge drawn from the biological sciences. art-sci.info

Full text (PDF) p. 2206-2208