I only recently thought about this concept…
It dawned on me that artists from various professional subjects specialisms often use social, ethical or moral issues in a lot of their work. This can often have an impact on how we perceive or interpret the artists work, perception and interpretation are difficult words, I believe, to define.
For instance Stelarc (Stelios Arcadiou) and his controversial performance/experiments often come in conversation because of his extreme approach towards cyborg and post humanization. By modifying his body he has attached a laboratory grown human ear onto the inside of his arm calling it ‘third ear’ (see below).
So is Stelarc an artist or an Scientist? Is he merely exploring the human body through artist performance and exploration, or is it more than this? Is he exploring the scientific possibilities of the human form but instead of using lab rats – he is using himself?
Stelac is not the first to raise such debates, history shows us that Lenoardo Da Vinci was an artist and scientist. Da Vinci’s past shows us that his painting and inventions are historically ‘interesting’, ‘futuristic’ and at the time people referred to him, at times, as ‘superhuman’;
“The scope and depth of his interests were without precedent…His mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote”
[Gardner, Helen (1970), Art through the Ages, Harcourt, Brace and World]
The media often classes intelligent people as superhuman or mysterious. It goes with a general concept that intelligent people isolate themselves from society to focus on their work. So, can an artist become a scientist? I believe they can. This very short random ramble of text is just a portal for me to share my thoughts to to others who may stumble upon it, but I believe that artists such as Stelarc and Di Vinci have and still are producing works that van be classes as performances and scientific experiments.
There are many avenues I have not explored such as psychological, sociological and emotional aspects of such artistic work however one thing becomes clear to me; art is an exploration of expression and personal attributes expressed in a vast number of ways; audio, visual, physical or a combination of all. In this respect we are also exploring the emotions and beliefs of other in our society. These experiments relate directly and can work in parallels without us sometimes consciously knowing it.
Today we have now have organizations such as www.artscatalyst.org and www.science-art.com who also believe that science and art work hand in hand. This is a topic I am going to continue to explore and consider when I am creating, composing and delivering my own work.