Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Heiferman: a question about audience....

From: Marvin Heiferman
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2007 10:04:53 -0500

Hello all:

I’ve been interested to read, in a number of posts, references to the difficulties the “public" has in responding to art-sci imagery. Robin Marantz Henig’s post about the public’s response to images accompanying her articles published in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and Max Aguillera-Hellweg’s comments about the difficulty people have had to his (remarkable, I think) images raise an issue I hope will be addressed somewhere, sometime, in the course of this conference.

Since different disciplines have very specific philosophies about how and why images should be made, used, interpreted and even spoken about, I’m wondering what me mean when we speak about the audiences for art-sci images. Having curated a number of art exhibitions in the past that have explored artists’ response to genetic issues, it became clear to me, repeatedly, that while the shows were popular with scientists, artists interested in sciences, and visiting groups of students and academics, the larger art world’s interest in engaging with art works that are science based is limited, at best. Without a doubt, art-sci exhibitions raise fascinating and important issues (as Giovanni Frazzetto has suggested in his post) and generate interesting and important discussions among small groups of artists and scientists! (as this conference confirms). But why does the kind of imagery we're talking about in this conference have a hard time reaching and/or communicating with broader audiences? What I’m curious to learn from participants in this symposium is who are the audiences they hope to reach and engage through their imagery, and to what effect?

Marvin Heiferman

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