Face the muses

In my university days, science and art seemed to be considered non-overlapping pursuits. So I tilted at windmills and would show up at class with drawings of trilobites and extinct fish. The first time I showed up at class with drawings of trilobites, my prof said, "ooo, I don't want any of those in my soup," and the critique was done.

(note to self: cool idea - trilobites crawling out of soup and menacing a professor)

Science is a muse. But why? I need to explore my fascination. I need to explore so I can understand the weird little niche I'm in right now. There is also the more immediate and exciting reason that I will be attending ScienceOnline'09, and co-moderating a couple of sessions.

One session I will be co-moderating -with the inimitable Jessica Palmer of Bioephemera!- is entitled Art and Science - online and offline. I've posted a few notes at the conference wiki, and Jessica and I will be developing and refining the beats of the group discussion over the next while.

I view the world of art mainly through the eye of a painter. I'm fairly specific in my aims most of the time (Payne's Grey here, Quinacradone Orange here). I like using modern scientific ideas and discoveries as visual symbols for ideas like love and death and whimsy, as religious and mythological symbols once did in the Renaissance. So my thoughts about how science intersects art will be starting from a fairly specific place. How far can I expand my perceptions?

Learning from other bloggers helps. Renaissance Oaf continues his series But Is It Art? and has an astute analysis of the importance of the market, whatever the style of art. Bond's Blog pondered the variations in illustrations of one dinosaur genus, and how to move forward with his own rendition. My incomplete image of Haldane's Precambrian Puzzle wound up on Infectious Greed, an economic blog, illustrating the perils of lousy analysis. Cocktail Party Physics looked at the question But Is It Art? and showcased some fascinating examples.

It can be all too easy to get wrapped up in an image and not stop to ponder why it is exciting to me. It's time to face the muses.


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