Saturday, March 10, 2007

Scott: response to Richard Twine

From: Jill Scott
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 09:59:39 +0100

To Richard Twine:

I would like to react to some of your points as I have been thinking along similiar lines:

What happens when the artist enters the scientists' space and starts working with the same materials as the scientist?

Once science critic Sandra Harding defined, the word 'method' as a pre-determined technique for the gathering of evidence or a set of materials used in order to carry out research, but the term 'methodology' describes a theory and evaluation of choices about how research does or should proceed. Currently, these two categories cause debates among art and science researchers. These debates suggest that sharing methods might be easier than swapping methodologies and that learning in consortium teams leads to new discussions about these issues. While between computer science and media art a great deal of tool sharing is already taking place, (see the art of Tiffany Holmes, the different approaches to methodology often creates very different results. This is also the case for bio-artists who are working directly with materials from the lab. What happens when artists and scientists work on the same projects? Difficulties.

What is the relationship between artist intrusions here and those by anthropologists/social scientists/ethicists?
Many academically inclined art researchers are beginning to use ethnographical studies and workshops to analyze social questions and to combine the results into something called "proof of practice". This combination might also further legitimize the studies of art researcher on a scientific level. For example, in the e-skin consortium, art researchers have learnt to test participants responses by using social science methodologies learnt from the Department of Psychology in Basel. ( Here science researchers are helping art researchers to empirically assess the navigation, information and communication potentials of the users in relation to their particular levels of tactility, proprioception, hearing and cognitive mapping. This testing can accurately identify inherent problems and inconsistencies in order to build the e-skin interface. In return, the media artist can benefit from the output of recording these tests and edit them into something digestible for the general public. Thus user tests about perception might empower the public with a deeper level of shared awareness, intimacy and emotion. If one of the main aims in combining art research with the gathering of empirical knowledge is to “humanize science” for the general public, then perhaps these combined strategies are worth pursuing!!

Why are we there, will we 'go native'?

Yes probably but it is an experiment which might yield interesting results and research in both fileds certianly need some thinking "out of the box". Perhaps we could be called hybrids. I know quite a few artists by now who love to gatecrash natural science conferences. Why? Well - Its inspiring.

About your other questions. Please see my posting response to Suzanne about our artists-in-labs project here in Switzerland.

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