It’s been a pretty crazy quarter. i still remember sitting in front of the computer determined to log a daily entry of the (great) artworks i’ve experienced. That didn’t work out too well.. and some of the greatest experiences i had were not the most artistic but they did matter alot to the implantation of ideas and inspirations in my mind.
For instance Terry Riley’s performance of ‘In C’ along Seattle’s 1st Avenue in front of the Seattle Art Museum. Huddled in a crowd of people that came to witness the unravelling of Doug Aitken’s ‘Mirror’ on the facade of the museum, we were treated to a beautiful performance of Rileys music in sync to the projections that were going on behind the stage. They closed the road for us.. barricaded the perimeter of the stage and the standing areas, while we thronged in anticipation, green wristbands flashed proudly before the hundreds that were denied entry. So when the rays of the Spring sun finally dwindled late in the evening Aitken’s work went live, as did a performance by the Seattle Symphony orchestra of Steve Reich’s Clapping Music (have heard better renditions.. and micing!) and then it was Terry Riley’s opus. i sometimes wish i was alive during the 50s. So much that we are influenced by involves developments in art, science and technology from the early 20th Century up till now. The technological Luddite in me asserts my historical link with these artists, music and movements much more than my current fragmentation in blogs, facebook, avatars and passwords.
Albeit, these are the situations I have been presented with, and grown up in, and therefore it takes me and my natural mode of questioning much time and effort catching up with historical developments At least to those ends, i have been reading a book about the early 18th and 19th Century developments in Scientific instrumentation … the difference between demonstration and research tools, the inventions that filled the borderlines between science and superstition; especially at a time where science was attempting to ground itself as a legitimate mode of study, and not as ‘natural magic’ of alchemic tradition. Natural philosophy was the operant term and polymaths like Kirscher, Newton, Gallileo and Boyle were classified as natural philosophers, even though in today’s scientific annals their inventions and ideas have streamlined into specific, albeit often narrow, trails for students and researchers. Education was a much greater field then. . and perhaps, with my phd in such a loosely defined scope of ‘digital art and experimental media’ i might also be able to put an aesthetic value to the questionings i have broadly across art, science and mechanical engineering and perhaps design some ‘modern’ instruments of natural magic that might deconstruct the proverbial dualism of science and art.
Just saw an advertisement for Guy and Kirsten’s In potentia – their lastest installation work that houses a bioreactor and neural cells within a designed box using materials reminiscent of 19th century scientific instrumentation in a form that seems almost iconic of the monolithic ‘captain’ control rostrums of science fiction movies. Maybe more like a space helmet though im resisting the anthropomorphic association given the premise of the work. This will be another work i could possibly discuss in the discovery seminar this summer – the semi-living, non-living and the sustenance of life away from the natural confines of the biological body.