"And the beat goes on………………."
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Day Five Question:
How might potential advances in the intersections of the arts and sciences benefit both fields and society in general, both short and long term?
Youngmoo: Dissolving (or at least re-thinking) traditional barriers between (and within) science and the arts in education through STEAM learning will enable a variety avenues to careers in both the sciences and the creative and performing arts. We can't predict what careers will be in demand 20 years from now, but we do know that our children will benefit from being creative lifelong learners able to adapt and integrate knowledge across many disciplines. Furthermore, it’s increasingly apparent that innovation is enabled through a variety of pathways— including the design of physical artifacts, the visualization and manipulation of multi-dimensional and multi-media data, the development of computer code, and the creation of artistic works—enabling individuals to express their ideas using tools as diverse as the ideas themselves. We must continue to improve our practices for multidisciplinary learning to facilitate arts+science collaboration in order to provide the foundation for future innovation, collaboration, and discovery.
The arts have developed, over millennia, practices for creating and conveying human expression. Understanding the processes through which creative expression has evolved can greatly inform future directions in science and technology. Perhaps the most widespread impact of art+science collaboration will be in terms of personal expression. Emoticons and Emoji symbols have emerged to fill the expressive void in text-based media. These workarounds not only indicate the widespread desire for more expressive channels, but also highlight the importance of art in conveying expression. Through the confluence of art and science (and technology), I imagine a future in which people are able to more naturally express their ideas and intent to one another, regardless of the channel or distance.
In the long term, I hope for greatly improved communication and knowledge dissemination within society. Too often, we speak to only those in our disciplines and don't realize how far afield we've gotten from the general public. And yet, more and more discussions about policy, resource allocation, and governance absolutely depend upon a basic understanding of a field (global climate change being perhaps the most prominent example). In some ways science is experiencing what arts funding went through in the 1980s, which must be overcome through better communication. Greater understanding facilitates empathy, which lays the groundwork for a more active, vibrant, and just society.
Bill: Perhaps an example from the past could provide us with clues on how promoting these synergies might impact our future. Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel’s book “The Age of Insight”, describes how Viennese life at the turn of the 20th century provided opportunities in solons and coffee houses for scientists, writers and artists to converge, inform and transform each other’s work. Schnitzler’s writing and the paintings of Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka advanced progressive attitudes in that time and place around things like the social and political liberation of women. Their back and forth at the salons also helped shape Freud’s theories (just as his theories influenced their art), which ultimately lead to the birth of psychoanalysis. Before they met, it would have been impossible to imagine the form and nature of all these advances being made across culture and medicine. It’s also hard now for us to imagine short and long term advances that might come to pass if we improved the ability for people working at the forefront of art and science to collaborate more effectively. But wouldn’t it be great to find out?
That concludes the Arts / Sciences Intersections Blog Forum.