Course Title: Art and Science in the Laboratory
Giltner Hall, RM 255
‘Bacteria perform processes. Scientists perform experiments. Algorithms perform actions. Humans perform gender and sex. The question is who or what nowadays doesn’t perform?’– Chris Salter
Why is this course Needed? The integration of arts into science practice has resulted in a newly emerging, integrative discipline often called STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). What is largely missing from the STEAM movement, is recognition that a cadre of scientifically literate practicing artists will be needed to make it possible. Even more importantly, the STEAM movement generally overlooks the existence of a vibrant and growing practice of scientifically based artistic practices among artists themselves, variously falling under the rubrics of Bioarts, Transmedia Arts, etc. These novel art practices promise to feed back into science practices just
as science practices are feeding into the arts. Due to the critical nature of the arts, these artistic endeavors can push forward the sciences upon which they are based as well as providing needed social, cultural, ethical, and intellectual commentary about the meaning of those shared practices.
Who should take this course? The course will be targeted at seniors majoring in the arts and graduate students in the arts and humanities as well as curious biology and ecology related graduate students and 3rd and 4th year
undergraduates. The aim of Art and Science in the Laboratory is to attract a diverse set of thinkers and practitioners based in the arts, the humanities, and the sciences. If you are an artist who wants to explore the sciences, a scientist who wants to peer into the arts or a humanist who wants to explore the material and the theoretical world firsthand,
then this course is for you! The course will be a one semester introduction to laboratory science through a set of conceptual, technical and analytical experiments, tools and research practices geared to enable novel artistic practices. The value of the course
will be four-fold: 1) to demonstrate ways in which current art practices have emerged from appropriation and transformation of scientific methods and materials; 2) to open new artistic possibilities; 3) to create through shared practices, a common ground between sciences and arts that benefits both disciplines; 4) to motivate the next
generation of artists to explore, exploit, and expand this common ground.
Art and Science in the Laboratory will be a radically interdisciplinary, hands on, and use experiential-based learning modalities. To accomplish these goals the course begins with a series of reenactments of a few pivotal scientific experiments. Students will repeat versions of these experiments to learn bench practices of modern science that are
currently employed by cutting edge artists. Later in the course, students will be encouraged to rethink and reconceptualize these experiments using critical artistic practice to explore new possibilities.