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Art & Science

Sian Ede



Richard dawkins

The wonder of the universe and our place in it is revealed through science in ways impossible to appreciate in images


Frances Ashcroft

I am piecing together the puzzle. My aim is to see the interconnectedness of it all- how all the bits fit together to produce something gloriously new


Gillianwearing- signs that say

‘everything is connected in life. The point is to know it and to understand it.



Farmello (physicist)

Much like a work of art, a beautiful equation has among it’s attributes much more than attractiveness- it wil have universality, simplicity, inevitability and an elemental power.


The artists experience of life is uncoordinated, dislocated, contingent, incomplete.


Emmanuel lemnas- art does not belong to the order of revelation, it is the very event of observing, a descent of night, an invasion of shadow



The term ‘super-position’ refers to the fact that an electron can be in two places at the same time, the concept of ‘entanglement’, that, once entangled, two particles are forever connected and able to affect each other’s behaviour, even if they travel to opposite ends of the universe.



The lengths we go to in order to perceive, measure and even predict ‘reality’ reflects a deep desire to master and control all nature, even while we marvel at it.


P31 (keats)

In art, he seems to suggest, life is arested and forever on the brink between anticipation and fulfilment.


It is the artists ancient role to communicate between a timeless other world and the physical world of the here and now.


Romantic period- 1780-130

Artists and poets- move the emotions in order to rouse the viewer to deeper contemplation


P34 burke- the sublime confronted man with the boundless infinity of the universe, curiously intense feeling of astonishment, terror and vastness, all culminating in a kind of cathartic pain


Kant- (less fear of the unknown- ) splendour, evidence of wonderous and divine spirit in nature which stimulated the alert and receptive mind. Cloud-tumbled skies, stormy seas, atctic barrenness, deep forests, wilderness- hitherto seen as uncivilised wastes became proper subjects for deeper feeling and contemplation and provided rich material for art and poetry


Turner, cole, church

Desire to control and own it- colonisation

Reverence- colonisation=tension

Nostalgia, revulsion at industrialisation

Ruskin- artist=innocent eye

Divint, platonic beauty



Avant guarde- Brancusi, klee, gabo etc a vision of some profound omnificient spirit at the core of the universe



Artists- escaping the dysfunctional world with its confounding profusion of meanings to search for a silence at the heart of things. Some reach a kind of meditiative calm through the actual making of the work.


Natural rhythms- ancient relationships between art and nature

Permanent record of life- time based, multiple screen & soundscapes

An ancient yearning which is never fulfilled

A homage to transience- andy Goldsworthy

Gustav etzger- acid- traces

Fragility, beauty



Art making= 60000 years ago- perhaps 70000

Signs and symbols fraught with layers of significance

P51 intendedto communicatio meaning at an intense level


A medium of communication which linked the natural and metaphysical worlds. Anthropomorphic and totemistic


Art makers- mediation between the real and imagined – shamanistic status

Burial sites

Addressing the mystery of death

Hamlet- the dread of something after death

The undiscovered country from whose borun

No traveller returns



Matin kenp

Structural intuition- artists produce an exceptional ability to visualise and understand and reproduce deep processes in nature

Making of visual connections or unpredictable juxtapositions between disparate objets and concepts

Its links with a sense of otherworldliness suggest underlying meanings beyond the merely visual or verbal.

A poignancy that seems to memanate from an awareness of time passing in theis world, with suggestions that the ony way to challenge the idea of death is through defiant humour or through finding a continuum between the material world and a hidden metaphysical one.



Nature experienced intuitively as a living force of which human life is a part

Bill viola an eternal loop of time, birth, death, resurrection


Bill viola

As travellers on the raod, they move in an indeterminate space between two worlds.



Profoundly primitive resonances, which are intuitively attuned to concerns about the world


Makes connections with the ancient story of humankind

It relises our fears and our love for each other



Re-inventing the past


I am the family face

Flesh perishes, I live on

Projecting rail and trace

Through time to time anon

And leaping from place to place

Over oblivion


Thomas Hardy, Heredity from moments of vision and miscellaneous verses 1916



Scientists are systemisers, artists are empathisers

Neuro scientist mark lythgoe



the artist's mind is simply a conduit- a 'vehicle' or 'replicator', as the memeticists would say.



Art images bear resemblence to things we literally know and they offer to the mind an opportunity to engage in puzzling out a meaning which is partly logical , but gestualy symbolic, partly decidable and rationally explicable, partly fraught still with hidden implications ad always physically ‘felt’ in our imaginations.



Jangling disorder, partial or ambiguous information sets up private reverbrations for each individual observer



Qualia- vivid immediacy

Flag the present in consciousness to avoid confusion with the past

A phantom memory


P111 (Gary Hill's piece Tall ships)

A new aesthetic phenomenology is emerging via advances in digital technology which might lead us to muse how far the paradoxically named ‘virtual’ brings us closer to lived experience

'Ships that pass in the night' whicch we use to describe the fleeting nature of our encounters with people in our lives, those who touch us for a short while and then dissapear, like our memories.



The black and white images...are creatures from a photographed past we all share, having similar images in our own albums.

Here they arrive momentarily ... ghosts from our own remembered past and so nearly alive and then they dissapear. Ships that pass in the night



Phenomeologists- merleau-ponty

Feminist psychoanalysis – Julia kristera, luce iriguary

Women artists= demonstrated a conviction that our very identity and cognitive take on the world in firmly grounded in physical function and senseation


The feeling of what happens- seamus heany

Body and emotherion in the making of consciousness

Spinoza (c17th)

The mind and the body are part of a style self- regulatory sytem


(proust, joyce, woolf, Faulkner)

tried to capture in interior monologue the felt detai of private existence by recording an inchoate blend of sense- perceptions, thoughts, feeling and memories,

more conventionally we are used to an interplay between protagonist and narrator… a from which seems to echo the way we sometimes monitor our feelings in everyday life.


Neuroscience- we are mere bundles of impulses, sensations and chemical processes, with no guiding other self except one that is spontaneously improvised or performed (ackroyd, Sinclair, winterson, sebald, borges, calvino)

Present fiction as fact and fact as fiction

Thoreaux, Keiler, Kotting

Disembodied, reverie, fictionalising themselves, imaginary, real landscapes


A S Bayant- the biographers tale

How do we put the idea of a person together? Everywhere he looks he finds fragments and gaps, disconnected typrscripts, bores and husks, boxes of marbles, collections and photographs.


In the viusal arts, viewers subtly place themselves into the picture and share the artists own stream of consciousness in which autobiographical experience is blurred, presenting a ‘conscious’ objectification of the subject/object internalised view, linking the personal to the general and vice versa.



Where is it- in imagined territory on the high seas, or in the mind?


Many visual artists use cinematic tricks to create an immersive experience in which the viewer can give up her own identity and revel in emotions which are other than her own.



There may be ways of reproducing actual experience artificially

George Poste)

‘as to whether this would evoke the same response that the original viewer had experienced, if this is possible, could a historical digital archive of an individuals visual experiences, and the accompanying repertoire of evoked emotions and memories, be transferred to another individual? Stored mental information could be transferable between individuals in life, and to others after life.


We absorb images and ideas all the time but we make them our own by interpreting and remembering them uniquely


Art doesn’t ‘work’ unless it provokes some kind of visceral response.



Contemporary art has become an urban phenomenon and artists who engage with nature can no longer regard it as a sublime route to the ineffable

Personal responsibility and desire for action



We must combat science with science, not flagrant emotion, though wit is a useful amusement, or perhaps, art?


A beautiful sadness lingers about the work of late 20th century artists like violas works and long who operate, literally, in the field.


Childlike, spiritual faith in the eternal rhythms and cycles of nature poignant by contrast.

Works in memoriam


New York painter alexis rockman- predicts future evolutionary progressions

The neozic

Irony- distancing

Obscure, draw, collect, the farm

Mark fairnington



The observer and the observed

Susan derges

River taw

Though aware that she will never capture a whole fixed reality, especially in a dynamic system, especially in a dynamic system, her process still gestures towards self- abnegation and the results are breathtaking, as though nature has been caught unexpectedly as the river surges towards the sea through the seasons. The rivers own view from below



A deep rhythm pulsing through nature, where every element is seen inevitably to be part of a hidden totality

Derges- ‘an inquiry into ways of representing nature and culture as a creative and dynamic process rather than as separated predetermined existencies unaffected by human consciousness

Internal forms of thought and consciousness.



We have evolved from nature so it is no wonder that our engagement with it takes the form of ceaseless Kantian interplay between outward form and inner constructions of it.


Allowing nature to interact on its own terms with our perception of it, stimulating the viewer to wonder where objective reality ends and imagination begins.


Sensuous interaction with nature


Naked-eye observatory- contempory understanding of perceptual psychology- ancient astronomic principles

Waterloo bridge light sculpture

Dusk to midnight slowly changing

Display of colour

Abstract shapes or arches on the bridge

Ambient light

Natural art in an urban setting



Dorothy cross- drawing on 19th century history but bringing it up to date with current research.



Cornelia hesse- Honegger- exquisite aquarelle paintings of jewel-like bugs and flies- distorted/deformed, bulges, tumours- radiation- Chernobyl/power stations

Science- sensationalist, not proper testing- art community- taken seriously

Lynette Wallworth- immerse viewer in moving experience of nature beyond normal perception

Luminescence, phosphorescence, timelapse, bioluminescence

Science imagers, ceramic vessels

We scoop up the image, finding the place where it is most clear, most defined. Not delivery but catchment; an experience of extreme visual intimacy. Bowls overflowing and replenished



[we are the only scale of reference for minute/vast natural phenomena] and to cup our hands to hold a vessel of precious liquid is a very ancient gesture. We both give and receive and we seem to hold the fate of the fragile universe in the palms of our hands. This is something which artists and scientists can share.




All but the most corrupt share the same desire to find some kind of truth about the structures, behaviours and contexts of the phenomena they study within their specialisms…the quest for knowledge, real knowledge, drives everyone before it


The art world does not as a whole believe that real knowledge can be found


These are two quite different forms of knowledge, not reconcilable, but mutually curous to each other as individuals we can accommodate both simultaneously


The work is rooted in human experience, as art always is

seeing the world through different lenses may be essential to our future well-being



beauty in contemporary art, as in literature, often derives from the incidental, the occasional and the marginal

Richard wentworth

An uncertain significance out of unsignificant things


Like all phorographs they may not be truths, but I tell the truth, they co-incide with me, they are strictly circumstantial and the only interference is my point of view, which I try to keep matter of fact

What we experience n cities are, literally and metaphysically, overheard conversations and the best of my work are images which stanf, for our unavoidable voyeuristic/gazing condition


Mild delight in detritus


Universality, simplicity, inevitability abd elemental power- graham farmelo- mathematical formulae


Coleridge- cohaerence

The clinging together of all the elements in a work to make some kind of whole which is psychically satisfying



A glimpse of a human intuition at work, uniquely and subjectively portraying a surface view that is partial, underlayers and semi-transcucent, revealing ‘outside and ‘inside’ simultaneously, inventing as much as it reproduces



The structure of the material universe



A serial inmage, between stillness and motion… my real is an inbetweeness, a cacophonous meeting ground of the invisibles, the thoughts, associations, pasts and futures with the physical presentnes of the surface

Therese oulton


The fleeting impermanence of things


Her contact with reality centres on lived human experience; the ‘now’ is a disjunction between partial memories and uncertain desires, the unresolved and unresolvable nature of existence, moment which we try to capture on film, but her vision also resonates with current scientific views on the flow and patterns in dynamic systems over time in the wider universe.


Provisional, unstable and disintegrating


If I do have a sense of the real, it’s in the mutability of experience and that with all its invumbent melancholy


Light- obscuring, dematerialising

Gnostic mystics- truth in darkness

Dark matter- 1/10 ths of the universe and provides mystery for modern cosmologists


Science- the new art?

Science images- function: the unambiguous communication of specific information- encoded messages for a specialist cognoscenti to translate

But no subjective emotion

A shudder of revulsion- a burkean sublime



Gilchrist and joelson- how we encounter nature phenomenologically- meterology. Time into anant repsonses to changes in earths ambient light

The artist has to find a connection with the viewers felt physical and temporal experience



Night skky- we are able to recall a collective past as if it were part of our personal childhoods when the moon and stars were magical and strange

Vija celmins

Felice fractal- coloured images of stars and galaxies

Light seeking light doth light of light beguile;

So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,

Your light grows dark bu loosing of your eyes.



David malin- horsehead nebula

Playing off the reality out there against a human selection and reconstruction of a part of it. Place ourselves in the wider picture


Looking up at the heavens is a very primitive experience and though these new images of our universe may render us infinitely ephemeral, paradoxically we also feel physically and tangibly present. For a moment we are simultaneously in the here and now and part of the wider reaches of space and time


Contemporary science provides astounding new views of phenomena and therefore new philosophical insights on experience


Manipulative nature- edge of terror



Iris Murdock- under the net- 1954

Events stream past us like these crowds and the face of each is seen only for a minute. What is urgent is not urgent for ever but only ephemerally. All work and all love, the search for wealth and fame, the search for truth, like itself , are made up of moments which pass and become nothing. Yet throught this shaft of nothings we drive onward with that miraculous vitality that creates our precarious habitations in the past and future.

So we live; a spirit that broods and hovers over the continual death of time, the lost meaning, the unrecaptured moment, the unremembered face, until the final chop that ends all our moments and plunges that spirit back into the void from whence it came.



The transcient nature of experience


Both science and art hint at truths we almost recognise


Enjoy that ceaseless Kantian interplay between intuitive imagination and conceptual understanfding that keeps us alert in the world.






It is the artist's ancient role to communicate between a timeless other world and the physical world of the here and now.
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