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Cautionary Notes for Media Artists Engaging the Art-Sci Paradigm Shift

Cautionary Notes for Media Artists Engaging the Art-Sci Paradigm Shift

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Published by Jonathan Zilberg
These are the notes prepared for presentation at the session on the Art-Sci Paradigm Shift chaired by Nina Czegledy at Media Art Histories 2013: RENEW.The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology, October 8–11, 2013, Riga, Latvia
These are the notes prepared for presentation at the session on the Art-Sci Paradigm Shift chaired by Nina Czegledy at Media Art Histories 2013: RENEW.The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology, October 8–11, 2013, Riga, Latvia

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Published by: Jonathan Zilberg on Oct 10, 2013
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Media Art Histories 2013: RENEW
The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology
October 8
11, 2013
Riga, Latvia
Jonathan Zilberg, Ph.D. Visiting Research Associate, Department of Transtechnology,University of Plymouth (jonathanzilberg@gmail.com)Session: The Art-Sci Paradigm Shift. Chair, Nina CzegledyPresentation: Cautionary Notes for Media Artists Engaging the Art-Sci Paradigm ShiftMy points, to be as brief as possible for the purposes of this session and the break outdiscussion, are simply three:
The First Point
in the art-sci paradigm shift, media-arts practitioners interested in engaging the art-sci nexusmust necessarily first return critically to the foundational text systematically referred to in thisemerging paradigm, C. P. Snow
Two Cultures
My point here is that without a critical andhistorically informed reading and thus questioning of the original basis for this paradigm shift,scholars and practitioners are being unnecessarily drawn into a divisive view of the sciencesand humanities which often does not apply to scientists interested in and engaged with the arts.In both reports noted here, Snow
s legacy is clearly systemic.In this context of an art-sci paradigm shift, there are amongst other foundational documents,three of particular importance for anyone working in media arts interested in this art-sci nexus:1. The 2007 UK SciArt Report, Paul Ginkowki and Anne Bamford,
Insight and Exchange: An evaluation of the UK Sciart programme
As the independent evaluators of the Wellcome Trusts decade long art-sci program from 1996 through 2006, the authorsnote that
The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution
continued to provide anessential element in the debates over the relationship between the arts and the sciencesand thus informed the artists
collaborations with scientists (Ginkowski and Bamford2009, p. 7). This is so much the case that Chapter Seven is titled:
What happens when
‘two cultures’ come together?
Simply put, I would challenge media artists and media artcritics to first question this original assumption by carefully reading Levis and Yudkin
sresponse to Snow at Cambridge and only then to proceed after a thoroughunderstanding of the critiques.
This will allow them to more effectively avoid the pitfallsof taking for granted and working from a basic axiom which in my view is seriouslyflawed. I provide an extended critique of the continuing systemic problem of the largely
See C. P. Snow. Snow, C. P. 1963.
The Two Cultures: And a Second Look.
Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press which followed the earlier publication of the 1959 Rede Lecture as
The Two Culturesand The Scientific Revolution
Paul Ginkowki and Anne Bamford.
Insight and Exchange: An evaluation of the UK Sciart programme
.London: Wellcome Trust, 1997. Accessible at: www.wellcome.ac.uk/sciartevolution. 
F. R. Leavis.
Two Cultures? The Significance of C. P. Snow 
, 1962. London: Chatto and Windus. Alsosee herein, Michael Yudkin
’s additional comments,
“Sir Charles Snow’s Rede Lecture”, pp.
unquestioned Snow dogma in my meta-analysis of the NSF SEAD White Paper reportreferred to further below (Zilberg 2013).
 2. The 1962 National Endowment for the Humanities Report.
This report is elementallyimportant for assessing the art-sci paradigm shift as it shows considerableinterdisciplinary activity in the arts, sciences and humanities in the late 1950
’s and early
 3. See
Steps to an Ecology of Networked Knowledge and Innovation: Enabling New Formsof Collaboration among Sciences, Engineering, Arts and 
Volume 1: Synthesis
Volume 11: Meta-analysis, abstracts, and White
This report is criticalfor media-arts engagement in art-sci, specifically in the US in terms of the STEM toSTEAM educational policy debate. Globaly however, the SEAD NSF White Papers are avital resource for gaining a sense of activities underway in the art-sci field today. In myview the strongest paper there, one which should set the foundation for future art-scipractices by media-artists is the paper by Robert Root-Bernstein,namely
The Importanceof Early and Persistent Arts and Crafts Education for Future Scientists and Engineers.
 Its important lies in demonstrating the creative and analytic relevance of the persistentpractice of the arts by scientists as will be commented upon in the final version of thisconference paper.
The Second Point
My second point is to emphasize further the elemental importance of the Root-BernsteinSEAD White Paper.
At the same time, my hope is to have drawn the audiences attention tothe YASMIN list serve where for instance this paper is under discussion this week.
 Towards potential collaborations and outcomes of this session, by noting this context, I hopeto expand the audience for this discussion and bring any potential points in this session andin the break out groups into alignment with the critical issues and points made by Root-Bernstein available on-line.In addition, I seek to introduce the importance and potential of engaging media artists in oneof the most personally interesting art-sci interaction spheres, that is, in the conjunction of dance, music and science education, thus the third point below.
The Third Point
Jonathan Zilberg, Art and Science: A SEAD White Paper Working Group Meta-Analysis
Science and Culture
(Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences), Winter 1965. Inparticular, see Gyorgy Kepes,
“The Visual Arts and the Science
s: A Proposal for Collaboration
pp. 17-134.
Prepared by Roger Malina, Carol Storhecker, Carol LaFayette, and Amy Ione on behalf of the SEADNetwork White Papers Steering Group and 200 White Paper Contributors.. Seehttp://seadnetwork.wordpress.com/draft-overview-of-a-report-on-the-sead-white-papers/
Robert Root-Bernstein, See
My personal interest is in the potential use of media arts is for teaching biochemistry to thewidest possible audience through multi-media embodied learning practices. The fullexplanation of this hypothetical project is given in my collaborative SEAD White Paper withKitto, Kostis, Long and Trenshaw (2013).
 In this context of the REVIEW conference at Riga, I had hoped to meet media artists andmuseum science educators potentially interested in engaging the proposal for The Dance of Life which was designed to teach a complex biochemical process across the disciplines andas a form of educational reform and outreach. Should anyone be potentially interested,please contact me directly.
In conclusion, the three points I have made here are: 1. Historical, 2. Developmental and 3.Practical.They are historical in that first I urge all those interested in media-arts and the art-sciparadigm shift to return to C. P. Snow
original text with a more critical perspective thansystemically exists. I extend this applied critique by drawing to this audience
s attentionthree critical documents for appreciating the development of the art-sci nexus since the1950
.I have drawn attention to the practical and analytic potentials at hand as given in the Root-Bernstein SEAD paper in discussion this week on Yasmin. The purpose of introducing theYasmin list serve in this way is to emphasize the evolving interactive potential of using socialand electronic media to discuss and drive potential future collaborations, specifically for European environments. Such forums allow for the outcomes of sessions such as this onein this conference to be productively shared with the emerging larger art-sci communitytowards the open-ended engagement of those working with and in media-arts.To conclude I would like to draw this session
’s attention
to particular to the use of dance inscience education.
In that context, I do so towards noting that my own proposed Dance of Life project prepared as an NSF SEAD White Paper was specifically designed as a proposaltowards collaborating with media-artists interested in digital image environments involvingmusic, dance and embodiment in science education and experimental museum exhibition.Lastly, I emphasize that my intention is in no way to diminish the importance of thecontribution of C. P. Snow and its subsequent inspirational effect on the UK Sciart programfor interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary practices in the art-sci field. My goal is simply toencourage a more historically informed perspective on the issue of 
Two Cultures
and by
See Jonathan Zilberg, Barrie Kitto, Helen-Nicole Kostis, Linda Long and Kathryn Trenshaw. Originally titled
TheDance of Life: A Biochemistry Learning Machine
it was subsequently published on line in modified form at:http://seadnetwork.wordpress.com/white-paper-abstracts/final-white-papers/can-art-advance-science-a-hypothetical-sead-experiment/.
See the National dance Education Organization report,
Evidence: A Report on the Impact of Dance on Learning
 at http://malina.diatrope.com/2013/09/29/evidence-a-report-on-the-impact-of-dance-on-learning/

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