Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rijsingen: about the epistemic

From: Miriam van Rijsingen
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 19:48:00 +0100

Dear all,
I am happy to hear that the conference has been extended until the 15th, as I was not able to contribute much in the first 4 days due to an unexpected busy schedule.

I want to join in again and think some further about the epistemic value of the art practice, specifically when engaged with bioscience. I am also very interested in Marvin’s and Nancy’s thoughts concerning Suzanne’s question. As for Suzanne’s question about the ‘epistemic’ applied to performativity and process in both lab and studio, I think this is a very important question indeed. I do not think many artists think about the epistemic a lot, or about their work having epistemic value. Jill does when she talks for example about e-skin consortium. But that’s also a specific case of ‘go native’ in my view.
Rheinberger’s view on the scientific production of epistemic things is based on the idea that what experimental scientists do is ‘taking and making’, that is ‘making available’. He defines this further as related to Piece’s sign system, but specifically understood as a fluctuating system, defined as a ‘continuous process’ of signification.
I could think of artists in bioscience as experimental researchers, who could define their practice as one of taking and making, and of making available. Not in the sense of a definite object, but precisely as a practice of signification.

I think also for example that the (beautiful, yet disturbing) images of Karl Grimes are a clear case of this process of taking and making, making available. I would call them perhaps instances of signification, that I think generate knowledge, not only about the objects in the archives, history etc, but also about ourselves, our psychologies etc.

More tomorrow. Have to think al lot over.

I like the stuffed plush too! But I cannot see the 'true version of a nioghtmare' or evil eye in Cthulhuu.

Dr. Miriam van Rijsingen
Dept. of Art History, University of Amsterdam

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