Art + Science Now: How Scientific Research and Technological Innovation Are Becoming Key to 21st-Century Aesthetics

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A global overview of the ways in which contemporary artists draw on scientific and technological developments to explore new forms of creative expression.
In the twenty-first century, some of the most dynamic works of art are being produced not in the studio but in the laboratory, where artists probe cultural, philosophical, and social questions connected with cutting-edge scientific and technological research. Their work ranges across disciplines—microbiology, the physical sciences, information technologies, human biology and living systems, kinetics and robotics—and takes in everything from eugenics to climate change to artificial intelligence.
This comprehensive overview covers a dazzling array of work produced by some 250 artists from America, Japan, Germany, France, the Netherlands, the UK, and elsewhere. It presents a broad range of projects, from body art to bioengineering of plants and insects; from music, dance, and computer-controlled video performances to large-scale visual and sound installations. Special features include a full reading list and lists of pertinent museum collections, festivals, and research centers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Library Journal
Starred Review.

Wilson (Information Arts), Professor of Conceptual and Information Arts at San Francisco University, presents a fascinating collection of art involving molecular and macro-biology, physical sciences (pure and applied), kinetics, robotics, processing-and-sorting algorithms, and other scientific fields in ways that "confront the problem of definitional boundaries head-on." Though works sometimes "do not look like either art or science," they all involve a creative celebration or critique of science; some artists even invent "totally new technologies" out of their own labs. With color photographs of works from more than 200 artists world-wide, accompanied by brief explanations and chapter introductions, this is a volume that provokes much thought with a minimum of text, by turns mind-expanding (like Ken Rinaldo's Augmented Fish Reality, based on research into fish intelligence), fun (a virtual reality dance floor from Josephine Anstey, Dave Pape and Dan Neveu), provocative (Wim Delvoye's working robotic recreation of the human digestive system), and educational (like projects involving atomic force microscopy, functional MRI, and galvanic skin response). As Wilson points out, "much of the experimental work described in this book has not yet been assimilated into mainstream institutions," making this an excellent introduction to the art world's growing class of cutting-edge scientific commentators.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

“Fascinating…. Captures and preserves a special moment in the history of artistic practice and positions it within what is the inextricable relationship between science and society.”
“Makes complex interactions between art and science accessible. Promises to be a major inspiration to artists and a definite eye-opener for critics, art historians, and enthusiasts of contemporary art”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500238684
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Wilson was Professor of Conceptual and Information Arts at San Francisco State University. His previous publications include Using Computers to Create Art and Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Art, Science + Technology 6

1 Molecular Biology 18

2 Living Systems 38

3 Human Biology 62

4 Physical Sciences 84

5 Kinetics & Robotics 106

6 Alternative Interfaces 130

7 Algorithms 158

8 Information 180

Conclusion: Cultural Challenges in a Techno-scientific Age 200

Further reading & browsing 202

Online resources 203

Sources of illustrations 204

Index 206

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