CREATIVE CONTAGION: FLASHPOINT FOR THE FALL 2008 SEMESTER
Scientists invite artists to Antartica. Artists design media devices that send environmental data to audiences inside museum galleries. People working in response to global environmental change address museum conferences entitled "Art + Environment."
Artists, scientists, media designers, and environmentalists are cross pollinating. And already, the outcomes are extreme. They are unleashing deep core changes in their own and one another's assumptions, materials, practices, and lives. In some circles, art has become as important as science in understanding the nature of environments.
This flashpoint gathers and diagrams, perhaps for the first time, vectors of creative contagion across art, science, and media. It tracks what each field is catching from the other, with what effects. It surveys what actions individuals and groups are taking to pass it on--often with the hope and conviction that this is one contagion the world really needs.
"Fuller was the first designer in history to understand structure as a pattern comprised entirely of energy and information. . . . Fuller had a profoundly scientific intuition, which meant that he was primarily interested in values such as beauty, elegance, and economy as they pertained to a solution, not to cloying ornamental or stylistic properties . . . The Fuller project still holds up as the far limit of extreme design."
--Sanford Kwinter: Far From Equilibrium, pp. 57 + 60.
Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe, Whitney Museum of American Art June 26- Sept 21, 2008
DYMAXION MAN, Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker, June 9, 2008
Buckminister Fuller Symposium, Sept 12-13th, Cooper Union, sponsored by the Whitney
EXPERIENCE THE BUCKMINSTER FULLER SYMPOSIUM
"Visibility is key to positive action on this issue. Artists can give form to the intangible and deliver a powerful message about the need to meet the critical challenges of global warming." Precipice Alliance Mission Statement
Cross-contaminations among artists and environmental scientists are generating wildly diverse exhibitions, films, performances, articles, research, and projects. Experience the works>>>
EMS live blogged from the panel discussion, The Visual Rhetoric of Environmentalism at the New Museum in New York on August 16, 2008
The panel's premise was this: As scientific consensus about global warming gains traction with the public, this panel explores how such knowledge—and the environmental strategies it prompts—should be expressed visually.
The participants were: Dr. Cameron Tonkinwise, Charles M. Blow, and Mitchell Joachim. Moderated by Brian Sholis, editor of Artforum.com.
In response to this panel we had our feelers out to sense and respond to ideas about the mutual contamination of art and science. For example, how artists and designers are turning towards science for materials, methods and inspiration; and how scientists are turning toward artists for ways to express research data. We also listened for design tips: How designers can better enlist visual rhetoric in support of environmentalism.
Listen to NPR's report on Eco-Chic: How Green is "Green"?
"From organic food to carbon offsets environmentally friendly products are all the rage — but what do "green" labels really mean? Guests discuss how to determine whether a "green" product is truly eco-friendly, and whether the current trend of eco-marketing will ultimately pay off for the environment."
Listen Now [47 min 3 sec]
Read: New York Times, "Buying Into the Green Movement," By ALEX WILLIAMS, July 1, 2007
Mitchell Joachim, of Terreform ONE [Open Network Ecology], spoke at the New Museum's recent panel on Visual Rhetoric of Environmentalism (read live blog archive). His Brooklyn-based design collaborative is a laboratory for scientists, artists, architects, students and individuals to explore the larger framework of ecology in design of cities and products. Their highly experimental designs blur the line between engineering and art. Their work is sought out by cities and corporations that sense potential economic value in using art, design, and wild imagination to rethink city planning and the cars and highways of urban mobility.
If designers and artists can use discoveries by psychologists and economists to design things that dramatically influence the choices people make ... should they?
They are. Consider the issues, concerns, and possibilities. Read Annika Mengisen's interview with Cass Sunstein, co-author (with Richard Thaler) of the book: Nudge. Experience how designers are using scientific insights about how people make choices to create objects that "nudge" peoples' behaviors toward better choices without using force or removing options--such as "the traffic light you will not miss."
TESTING GROUND Oct. 2-17, 2008 (download PDF).
Testing Ground was the first field trip of EMS. It took the contemporary intersections of art and science as its point of departure. Testing Ground connected college students to the Nevada Museum of Art’s conference entitled “Art + Environment” through live blogging, archived here.
EMS then conducted interactive “media field tests” of selected new ideas and perspectives generated at the conference. We took new ideas and perspectives “on the road". We used media to explore how intersections of art and science inspired new creative responses to the particular conjuncture of humans, the landscape and built environment that we found unfolding in the American Southwest.
Field test sites: Reno, NV (“Art + Environment” Conference, Nevada Museum of Art); Las Vegas, NV (The Atomic Testing Museum, Liberace Museum); The Nevada Test Site; Hoover Dam/Lake Mead; Joshua Tree National Park, CA; Salton Sea, CA; Sun City, AZ; The Lightning Field (Quemado, NM); Santa Fe, NM (SITE Santa Fe), Los Alamos, NM (Los Alamos National Labratory’s Bradbury Museum); Albuquerque, NM (National Atomic Museum).
View the Testing Ground:
Visit a museum or gallery, see a film, read an article, take part in a project, or attend a panel discussion in your area that addresses the creative contagion between artists and scientists. Write a review of the experience, reporting on what the cross-contamination of art and science made possible in the event/work/piece.
Virtually attend a live blog event that is part of the creative contagion flashpoint ("Visual Rhetoric of Environmentalism" panel Aug. 16, 2008, "Buckminster Fuller Symposium" Sept 12-13, 2008, or "Art + Environment" conference Oct. 3- 4, 2008). Between Sept. 1 and November 1, 2008 send resources, comments or questions to the EMS blog that respond to the creative contagions now unfolding among artists and scientists at these events.
Using scientific data as inspiration, design a prototype for a product or project that attempts to nudge human behavior (see the POLITICS area of creative contagion for more info). Use 5 images to diagram the design and a 500 word essay to explain where you collected your data, what behavior your design attempts to nudge, and how you feel that your design facilitates this nudge.
On October 5, 2008, the EMS blog announced the themes that we will took "on the road" in response to the Art + Environment conference" and as part of Testing Ground's "media field tests" (see the MEDIA area of creative contagion for more info). Download the EMS FIELD NOTE PDF, check out the themes and start filing your own "Testing Ground" field notes . Post your notes alongside our on the EMS blog. Use the announced themes as a way to observe and report on experiences of creative contagion among artists and scientists that are shaping your daily life in your local area.