Re: Art and Science

From: michael rees (
Date: Mon Mar 22 1999 - 20:39:36 EET

Klas Boivie wrote:
> I've always argued that science and art are like the North and South poles
> of a magnet, or right and left side of anyting you prefer, -you can't have
> one without the other.
> There is always a component of art in good science, and an artist must
> apply some sceince to express his/her art.
> To deny that is like refusing to eat the "left end of a hot dog" :-)
> /Klas
> At 13:29 1999-03-21 -0600, you wrote:
> >Hey list,
> >
> >Do you think of art as an indulgence? Is it a whimsy? Is it something
> >that is several notches below your real concerns as an engineer? As a
> >scientist? Is it great for them, but of no consequence to your life?
> >
> >Well, why not check out this article about Bell Labs.
> >
> >quote:
> >
> >"The artist who blithely goes through an entire career ignorant of the
> >technological tools of his or her trade strikes us as a sad anachronism,
> >and the technician who doesn't spend at least some
> >down time fooling around with graphics, animation or music seems to us
> >terribly one sided. "
> >
> >So, how many of you are fooling around with the CAD, making models? How
> >many more would love to do so?
> >
> >Thought provoker, rp-art evangelist,
> >--
> >michael rees SCULPTOR
> >1212 w 8th St. Bldg B #2, 816 753 3020 voice
> >KC, Mo 64101 816 753 1542 fax
> >
> >The use of rapid prototyping in art will contribute immensely to the
> >popularization of rp.
> >
> >For more information about the rp-ml, see
> >
> >
Hey Klas,

I forgot to put the url for the article out. it is

thanks for your comment. I couldn't agree with your position more!! This
reminds me of my favorite quote from the metallurgist Cyril Stanley
SMith. It goes like this:

"It is misleading to divide human actions into "art", "science," or
"technology," for the artist has something of the scientist in him, and
the engineer of both, and the very meaning of these terms varies with
time so that analysis can easily degenerate into semantics.
Nevertheless, one man may be mainly motivated by a desire to promote
utility, while others may seek intellectual understanding or aesthetic
experience. The study of interplay among these is not only interesting
but is necessary for suggesting routes out of our present social
confusion. " --Cyril Stanley Smith

This makes me wonder a bit. I think there's a split between how we
perceive art and science in this culture. If science tells us something
that we find counter-intuitive, unappealing maybe, we are forced to
entertain it seriously. Science has this kind of authority even though
science is always amending itself, admitting wrongs, redirecting,
recreating, reforming itself. We have patience for this.

On the other hand, as art explores and researches various modes of
representation, and shows us something counter intuitive, perhaps also
unappealing, it is often rejected out of hand-- "OH those crazy
artists." Interesting isn't it? The method can be quite similar and have
the same level of rigor but the response is completely opposite.

Perhaps this is because art is seen to occupy a psychological space. It
is mucky murky and ambiguous in there. A little frightening. But once
again, is this really that much different than science?

Onward and upward,

michael rees SCULPTOR
1212 w 8th St. Bldg B #2, 	816 753 3020 voice
KC, Mo 64101			816 753 1542 fax

For more information about the rp-ml, see

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