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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old May 7th, 2005, 15:36 Thread Starter
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Art in Context 13 : Art vs. Science

Before we begin please bear in mind that all questions and answers in this series are totally subjective.

1. What are the differences between art and science?

2. What are the similarities between art and science?

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2005, 01:20 Thread Starter
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1. What are the differences between art and science?

While science is built on hard facts, proofs and models, there is really no "standard" to judge a work of art. How does one define an act of passion?

2. What are the similarities between art and science?

Both disciplines require devotion, the willingness to endure criticisms, tremendous time spent on experiments that may yield no results and the ability to start over.

Artists all over the world are indebted to Issac Newton's theory of light, although few painters would show their gratitude for a scientist. William Blake went as far as writing angry letters to Newton denouncing the scientist's disrespect for "the supreme being."

That said, both art and science ultimately converge at the same point: to overturn a dominant force and showcase the new and unknown.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2005, 05:00
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1 - Art is where man allow his subjective side to hide logic. Science is when the logic side turns the game and a got in the top...

2 - Both are the most powerfull fields of human knowledge, they both can explain the world (or try) , they both can cast away ignorance, they are both able to make us stop and say "Wow!"...

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2005, 17:08
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These questions have soo many different answers...


i'll go with Dannii Minogue for similarities. As for differences i'll go for Michael Jackson.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2005, 17:47
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Let me 'answer' those questions in a different order

2) Both art and science try to portray reality. An artists as well as a scientist portray the outside world (or a part of it) in a way that makes it understandable for others. To understand it you therefore need to have the knowledge of the language the artisist or scientist "speaks".

1) The difference is that the scientist tries to forumulate the reality in such a way that it becomes possible, for those who understand the formulation, to use or even control that reality. The result leads to what I think is the main difference: science is more arrogant. Certainly to non-scientist a false image of "knowing everything" is upheld. Whereas in reality it's not different from art. The aura of proof (whatever that means) that hangs around it ignores the fact that it is nothing but one way of portraying what lays around us.

Someone with a very interesting approach of the differents and similarities between the 2 fields is the brilliant Antwerp artist Panamarenko
http://www.panamarenko.info/

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2005, 19:25
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I must disagree with God;
Science can not be more arrogant. I am not even going to the path that Science principle is that one person alone can not be correct; others have always to be able to testify you work but I go for there: Science is not the scientists (As Art is not the artists). So, there is Arrogant scientists, let's say Newton; well, Science is not the part that he is arrogant is it ? May be part of history his clashes, his desire of sucess, but the knowledge that he left, which is science, have nothing to do with that.
In the same way, it is not like there is artists who have the ego that can cover the entire sun and think "they" have found the truth, the true art, the only relevant art. We are not going to have the revolutions Bonita mentions in her definition if we do not have in first place those who would build with their beliefs the castles. Or are we going to forget Rousseau and Voltaire constant fight (a fight that is more than just philosophy), or the Classic vs. Romantic controversy, or the combat against allegory by some poets, or those who would turn in their death graves hearing a poem without rhymes ? Would you say that our fellow Milton was not arrogant, so arrogant that he had to write Paradise regained ?
In other hand, I can barelly imagine someone as humble as Charles Darwin; waiting 20 years to make public his discovery, afraid of being wrong, afraid of what he would cause in the society, afraid of hurting the feelings of his wife and that he only made it public because Wallace come after him with a similar discovery and they decided to publish, both of them, their work ?
Reality is not different from science either (perception of reality as it is) because after all, one way to portrait the reality is science.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2005, 20:35
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First of all I'm not talking about individual scientists, but science in general that believes itself to be much more powerful and knowing that it is in reality. You are absolutely right to point out individuals that are humble enough to point out the boundaries of their work. Einstein is another good example of that. At his best science is just like art a communal and critical search. (with a more practical use of course).

The problem is that science has gotten this almost divine status, which makes it very vulnerable to e.g. phenomena's as tunnelview. I have quite some experience in social sciences and the numerical fetish that has taken over there is almost frightening. The idea that a reality as complex as human interaction can be portrayed in a number is ridiculous, still statistics have taken over entire sciences as sociology. It gets to the point where social realities are said to be inexistant just because they do not fit in the statistical formula that is set forward (talking about arrogance).

There are several reasons for that (the way science is funded, a general Zeitgeist,...) but in today's universities bright minds as Bourdieu, Foucault, Elias,... would have real problems breaking through to the major intellectual role on social issues they managed to get in the past.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2005, 20:53
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But now you addres to the problem between "hard" and "soft" science which is the basic academic relationship in those areas. It is true, wont be the first time that I have seen sociology, psycology, etc to be labeled as "pseudo-science" when compared to Physics. How many times I heard that only economy is good because it can deal with numbers or even that biology only became acceptable because of the Genoma (something that can be translated to numbers). But again, that is not science, but a product of academic arrogance. Science is Darwin, who hated mathematics and which theory is basead in simple explanations rather mathematical formulas: evolution can be proved without the need to be turned in numbers. Or Stephen Hawkins, who wrote his "Brief story of time" to show exactly this, that science must be accescible and all mathematical especialization was killing this; mathematic is a toy, not the way of expression. (I would not comment that also in social sciences we do act as badly, using statistics as if it is the core of the study, not just one more help, like if social sciences need to sound like physics just to be "accepted")...
The question is simple, what will last in science, people demanding numbers or the explanatory power of Bourdieu ?

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2005, 20:58
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OK I can live with that

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2005, 21:05
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Now, Bonita will have to wait for someone else to argue here to have fun

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old May 9th, 2005, 02:02 Thread Starter
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It's unarguable that science is based on logic. Now step backward and ask ourselves: whose logic is science based on?

Let's take for instance medicine. When an M.D. gave a patient lethal drugs it is considered "harmless" because (1) the medication is prescribed by a person who received an advanced degree from a accredited university and (2) the medicine itself is produced by a major corporation thus making this event entirely logical and credible.

Should the patient not feel any better -- or die -- after taking the medication, the M.D. can argue that there is, at the moment, no other options for alternative treatment.

Wait -- what about holistic health treatments? Or herbal medicine and alternative medicine such as acupunture? Are these treatment not valid just because they are not recognized by western institutions? Whose logic is science really based upon then?

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old May 9th, 2005, 04:14
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Ok reality check time....


Try to erase eveything you know about science and what it is and think about what is has to do with creating art. There can be different ways of looking at it. I mean what are we talking about here? what is science? I mean, we could say how pigment is created and how the impressionists did scientific studies into colour. But seriously .....How does science affect artists? Obviously it doesnt affect all artists? Then you have to come back to..."in which way" does it affect the artist, and does it affect art in general at all. Now back in the days i doubt DaVinci and Mic' were looking into their 1000x zoom whine bottles. Nor would the caveman. I guess those are the differences, we dont need science for art. Not in terms of creativity. In fact science limits creativity. So personally i dont see the real relevance between the two, not excluding similarities, but the only thing science comes into mind when thinking of art is stuff like....what happense when i mix oil paint with acrylic paint? or, can i spray that over acrylic? and artists using saliva to mix some paints etc...I sure dont remember ever passing a science class...maybe once in year 10 after getting the answers through my graphics calculator. Sure didnt help my art though. Then you could get soo technical you could say that the activity that goes on in our brains which is responsible for creativity is a scientific nature therefor art cannot live without science... Or maybe...withought gravity, abstract artists would not be able to let paint dribble down the canvas.... Or without science, artists would be time catchers, but who realy gives a ?.....at the end of the day give me some paints and some brushes and the only thing i want science to do it shine natural light onto my canvas.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old May 9th, 2005, 04:20
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You just like it, dont you ?

Of course, Moderm Science is basead in the logic of the system developed in our western world...What can be said, we are "under control" of a culture that arrives from the upper management (however, I must say, that is not difference from Art )...of course the Ideal Science should test first, exclude last and In a idea world time given (because after all, the management needs time) they will find what is good, bad in all methods, after all the results are what matter. It is not like Science have not been guilty of backpeddaling in the past...
After all the work of science is facing the stabilished and bring changes like someone far wise thant I said : "to overturn a dominant force and showcase the new and unknown."

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old May 9th, 2005, 04:34
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If i wanted to find the answer to what matter is made of, i couldnt cause its already been proven...maybe not fully but i couldnt do it with a paintbrush. But there is no culture nor upper management controling my art.

p.s dont confuse me.


(edit)

p.p.s mic' and Da Vinci proved how to paint a figure, but Picasso had other ideas.

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old May 10th, 2005, 01:27 Thread Starter
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Just dropping by, peeps.

[/Geert]

I can tell you just as many tales about art being arrogant But please consider this theory: anything with the word "science" attached is, in reality, not science. For example -

Social Science
Domestic Science
Computer Science

(I can see Martin challenging me to a duel but the best computer programs and the most elegant code are, in effect, just like art, no?)

[/J]

Oh I forgot --

Political Science

The existence of politics is to turn a fearsome scientific act -- like wars -- into a bloodless round of drivels -- like all political discourse. Long live political forums, no?

[/Samp]

Addition to your Leonardo, Mic, Pablo, Pollock ... Vincent Van Gogh's and Gustave Caillebott's hand-built perspective machines and Nam June Paik's video Buddha ...

All these artists have one thing in common: they can also draw.

The world may run amok, count our lucky stars that the ability to make art is in our blood.

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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old May 10th, 2005, 04:15
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People indeed sometimes call the techniques, the technology or a logical strategy by the name Science. Must sound nice. I am sure one day, one person once tryied to call chess by science also...
I however trust in the capacity to study society, humankind and history following the scientific steps...I dunno when this will be all clean and not messed by the very own subject they study - I very much suppose that it will be impossible, as long we remain human.

Now, I can not imagine a world of art that have any limitation. Art can be inspired by science...actually it happened. Not to develop techniques but to talk about science and scientific discoveries and laws. If I could not remember Darwin (not the Charles, the Erasmus) botanic verses I will think in Kubrick and his 2001 and Italo Calvino and his Cosmicomics (Trully, I may be messing with the english title of this book, I have no idea which one is)...

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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old May 11th, 2005, 21:30 Thread Starter
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For example, "Paris Street, Rainy Day, 1877" by Gustave Caillebotte in which some sees the theory of the golden rectangle, other sees the debates for a transformed city.


Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848-1894), Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877
Oil on canvas, 212.2 x 276.2 cm; coll: Chicago Art Institute


Beginning in 1851, the government of Napoleon III transformed the old streets of Paris into a new system of grand boulevards. This painting abounds with evidence of the city’s rebuilding. Gustave Caillebotte selected a complex intersection near the Saint-Lazare train station for his subject, distorting the size of the buildings and the distance between them to create a wide-angle view that reflects the sweeping modernity of this capital city.

Although Caillebotte's work was largely ignored by fellow artists in his lifetime -- he was regarded as the big bad rich guy who paid for everything including the firemen's uniforms in his hometown -- his paintings demonstrated a sense of scorn, not praise, for the modernisation of Paris.

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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old May 12th, 2005, 14:56 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCamilo
People indeed sometimes call the techniques, the technology or a logical strategy by the name Science. Must sound nice. I am sure one day, one person once tryied to call chess by science also...
I however trust in the capacity to study society, humankind and history following the scientific steps...I dunno when this will be all clean and not messed by the very own subject they study - I very much suppose that it will be impossible, as long we remain human.

Now, I can not imagine a world of art that have any limitation. Art can be inspired by science...actually it happened. Not to develop techniques but to talk about science and scientific discoveries and laws. If I could not remember Darwin (not the Charles, the Erasmus) botanic verses I will think in Kubrick and his 2001 and Italo Calvino and his Cosmicomics (Trully, I may be messing with the english title of this book, I have no idea which one is)...
In my most humble opinion, J, art and culture remain to be a vital part of the study of humanities.

Of course, it would make the historians' jobs a lot easier if human behaviours were akin to logic. But it is the mishaps in life that makes us unique. As I said before, I count my lucky stars for the existence of "accidents," otherwise known as art.

Aside from Cosmic Comics, Calvino's last lectures were also good examples, no?

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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old May 12th, 2005, 15:20
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I listed Cosmic Comics come to my mind because it was Calvino's proposal in the book, it was a very obvious example, but overall, Calvino is a great example. Of course, It could more simple and I could just say that there would be not a genre named "Science-fiction" if there is no possibility of science to inspire literature (but then I would do something I like not, those genres classification )

Quote:
art and culture remain to be a vital part of the study of humanities.
Yin and Yang, isnt Bonita ? It is no wonder (my opinion, not so humble ) that in the western world humakind more interesting and powerful steps happened when both the Art world and the Science world are somehow united (and not transformed in one) to produce. But you should know, a Voltaire's fan would always find more pleasant to enjoy both

plus Caillebotte's painting is awesome...It is almost a frame from a movie.

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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old May 18th, 2005, 01:37 Thread Starter
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Actually, the Taoist symbol shows Yin and Yang as one unit, or, two fish swimming toward one another. This means, in loose translation: "when one extreme reaches the far end, it becomes its opposite."

And, speaking of Darwin, J, I think you may be interested in the following article --

The New York Times Editorial, 17 May 2005 (source: nytimes.com)

The Evolution of Creationism

The latest struggle over the teaching of evolution in the public schools of Kansas provides striking evidence that evolution is occurring right before our eyes. Every time the critics of Darwinism lose a battle over reshaping the teaching of biology, they evolve into a new form, armed with arguments that sound progressively more benign, while remaining as dangerous as ever.

Students of these battles will recall that in 1999 the Kansas Board of Education, frustrated that the Supreme Court had made it impossible to force creationism into the science curriculum, took the opposite tack and eliminated all mention of evolution from the statewide science standards. That madness was reversed in 2001 after an appalled electorate had rejected several of the conservative board members responsible for the travesty.

Meanwhile, Darwin's critics around the country began pushing a new theory - known as intelligent design - that did not mention God, but simply argued that life is too complex to be explained by the theory of evolution, hence there must be an intelligent designer behind it all.

The political popularity of that theory will be tested today in a school board primary election in Dover, Pa., where the schools require that students be made aware of intelligent design as an alternative to Darwinism. The race pits those who voted last year for that rule against those who oppose it.

Now the anti-evolution campaigners in Kansas, who again have a state school board majority, have scrubbed things even cleaner. They insist that they are not even trying to incorporate intelligent design into state science standards - that all they want is a critical analysis of supposed weaknesses in the theory of evolution. That may be less innocuous than it seems. Although the chief critics say they do not seek to require the teaching of intelligent design, they add the qualifier "at this point in time." Once their foot is in the door, the way will be open.

The state science standards in Kansas are up for revision this year, and a committee of scientists and educators has proposed standards that enshrine evolution as a central concept of modern biology. The ruckus comes about because a committee minority, led by intelligent-design proponents, has issued its own proposals calling for more emphasis on the limitations of evolution theory and the evidence supposedly contradicting it. The minority even seeks to change the definition of science in a way that appears to leave room for supernatural explanations of the origin and evolution of life, not just natural explanations, the usual domain of science.

The fact that all this is wildly inappropriate for a public school curriculum does not in any way suggest that teachers are being forced to take sides against those who feel that the evolution of humanity, in one way or another, was the work of an all-powerful deity. Many empirical scientists believe just that, but also understand that theories about how God interacts with the world are beyond the scope of their discipline.

The Kansas board, which held one-sided hearings this month that were boycotted by mainstream scientists on the grounds that the outcome was preordained, is expected to vote on the standards this summer. One can only hope that the members will come to their senses first.



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