There is a growing awareness that the art-science divide is a false and dangerous one. False, because we all have both sides of our brains, and dangerous because in compartmentalizing, we cut off our selves and our culture as an integrated whole. The sum of the parts is less than the whole. Fortunately many of us are working to return to our senses; art-science collaboration efforts are springing up everywhere, like mushrooms after a good rain. We are in a tipping point for re-integrating art and science; it’s an exciting time.
Integrating the arts into science education and communication will refresh and enliven science with creativity. Science requires precision, yes, and a rational process, yes, but it can also be a messy, unpredictable, crazy, creative, playful process…. just like art. Working with the arts will bring the senses back to science.
As artists, we have used the stories and images of science and nature as inspiration since the beginning of time. The wonderful thing about the book of science is that it is emergent… it builds on itself and revises itself as it goes. Our understanding of the world around us and our relationship to it and to each other is more sophisticated and nuanced than ever before — from neural pathways to molecular pathways, from string theory to food webs. These ever more beautiful and wondrous stories deserve to be told with celebratory, magical, numinous art.
It is in this spirit of re-uniting that we envision Symbiosis Art+Science Alliance (SymbASA), a way to explore these fertile connections and share across disciplinary boundaries. We will stitch together alliances between artists and scientists in the southern Appalachians, one of the most species-rich areas in the temperate world, with many active arts and science organizations, and within a day’s drive of most of the heavily populated eastern US. Eventually we hope these alliances will lead to a center for art+science, a hybrid between biological field station and arts retreat. Until then, partner institutions will host research, art making, classes, hands on workshops, art+science salons, events, exhibits, lectures, teacher training, fertile and serendipitous conversations on the front porch and around the fire, and things we haven’t even thought of yet.
A small group of 50-60 scientists, artists and educators at museums, colleges and universities, biological field stations, performance groups and arts retreats have already expressed interest and support. Join us! Meet with us in summer of 2013 in Asheville, NC to help us develop this idea whose time has come. See our Planning Meeting page for more information.
Want to help? Want more information? Contact Nancy Lowe at sciencecandance [at] gmail [dot] com .