Sunday, 13 September 2015
It is time for art
And another of the inputs that I made to the consultation on the European Commission’s FET Proactive Programme:
For reasons that we should, in time, take some time to better understand, science and art, which were once, in a kind of way, together, but not in the way that you probably think, having just read the above. In very brief outline: a long time ago there were not the sharp disciplinary distinctions of the type that now abound in the modern world. With time came the development along different paths. This was understandable, given the increasing knowledge base that was, as we would now say, scientific in nature, but this was also a development that has led to many serious problems that most of those caught up in science are unable to even contemplate. We are not talking here about the notion of Two Cultures – you should not be misled by this.
Do we need to rediscover the notion of the polymath, if there ever was such a thing? Or do we need people who can operate in the spaces between disciplines? While there will always be scope for the specialist, the person who, one can say, knows a lot about very little, such minds can be very dangerous. If we are truly to pursue the notion of sustainability we need minds that are able to embrace more than just atoms, or cells, or whatever pretty pebble that has caught the attention of a particular mind.
Artists are already exploring and researching the world from a transdisciplinary perspective, in which they bring art, science, and technology together in ways quite different to that of scientists or technologists, who most often limit themselves to quite narrow specialisations. And with this transdisciplinary approach, artists are demonstrating their capabilities to produce new insights and knowledge as well as new technologies. Only most people, especially those caught up in specialisations, and those who think in terms of dualities, do not understand. It seems that many scientists and technologists who do encounter art in the context of science and technology, think that it is about illustrating their work and communicating this to the public. This is the nature of the gulf that now exists, and which is inhibiting the development of entirely new approaches to science and technology research.
There is tremendous transformational potential in art used for research, and this is fully in line with what FET aims at achieving, and to understand more about this I have provided an example of the creative arts used for research in the Time for Time consultation, which appears as next week's blog.
And in closing I also note some additional points (which were not part of the original input): there are those who think that deploying art in research is about appropriating the artist’s creativity in research activities leading to enhanced creativity and innovation. This is a manifestation of the Ideology of Creativity. What fools these people are! Such fools can be found in the European Commission’s DG CONNECT – people who meddle in matters that they do not understand. These are the deficit thinkers, who, is their simple mindedness, reduce all of
Europe’s problems to a lack of … Fill in the space
yourself, according to your favourite deficit. This tells us something very
important about the nature of being human,
of being European, regardless of
whether one is living in a digital or non-digital era. Some aspects of being human, of being European never change, but it is about time that they were
changed, before the madness that Europe has
created in the modern world, consumes everyone, regardless of where they live.
“Exploitation of artist is evil” was once said about Google’s appropriation of art in their so called DevArt. It is certainly time for art, but not through the appropriation of art by government agencies caught-up in technocracy, positivism, and technological determinism, and who are pursuing familiar techno-centric trajectories in support of neo-liberal agendas. Artists tempted to participate in such activities such reflect on the fact that these agencies stand in the company of past appropriators of art – dictators, tyrants and popes.
In due course I will comment upon the DG CONNECT deficit thinkers and what they have foolishly written into the new ICT work programme 2016-17, but now (next week) it is Time for Time …