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What's science, what's art?

By Rhizome

Scientific discoveries pervade popular culture more and more and artists are becoming part of this cycle. Several recent exhibitions, books, and magazine features have demonstrated the popularity of science-based projects among contemporary artists. However, it is in symposia like the upcoming one organized by the New York Academy of Sciences (scheduled for April 14), that the examination of this new field is more often taking place. The conference's title, 'Biology and Art: Two Worlds or One?' acknowledges that the artistic approach to the scientific realm is mainly occurring within the biological sciences. Therefore, the focus of the discussions will be on how biological objects--whether viruses, animals, plants, cells, or organelles--inspire or even are employed by artists, and how scientists-always stressing objectivity in method-respond to artistic representations, which are necessarily subjective. The keynote address will be given by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, recognized within the community for 'Cloaca' (2002), a work that resulted from a three-year collaboration with scientists at the University of Antwerp, whose shared mission was to duplicate the functions of the human digestive system. The rest of the day will be comprised of conversations between artists and scientists that are collaborating or in which the latter's current research informs the former's current output. Speakers include Laura Splan, Jonathan A. King, Michael Joaquin Grey, and Gabriel Robles-De-La-Torre. Lively talks and extensive debate will provide a forum where ideas generated in these two different spheres of creative endeavor will be expressed, elaborated upon, and deliberated, thus bringing together what has been separated throughout history. - Miguel Amado

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