To answer the aforementioned questions, I must first ask: What is art? It could be argued that all forms of human activity is art. The separation of art and science is a relatively recent, 21st century phenomenon, if we take into account what the ancient Romans and Greeks considered to be art – engineering, geometry, mathematics, etc. Art and science were separated because of the alternative views of the world they created. Art creates a personal view of the world, while science creates an impersonal view. Art was marginalised by the sciences because of its inability to provide a universal view of the world thus hindering the process of coexistence.
If all human activity, however, is a form of art or is artistic to some extent then science could be interpreted as art. What keeps art separate from science is the progressive shift from unification to specialisation of knowledge in society, which commenced in the Middle Ages and snow balled with the Industrial Revolution. Separating art from science creates a fragmentation of knowledge and boundaries between disciplines that become further specialised internally.
The digital age, however, is providing us to an opportunity—through the ability of digital tools to facilitate interaction, exchange, integration and dissemination of knowledge—to return to the ancient paradigm of unified, total knowledge that existed on a continuum and not compartmentalised, discrete spaces. The knowledge paradigms of ancient and modern society, however, differ significantly because we live in a knowledge-intensive rather than the knowledge-deprived society of ancient times.
In response to the question about if Eduardo Kac’s art is necessary to bridge the gap between art and science, my answer is: Yes! This is because, in my opinion, art and science compliment each other and could be classed as similar to each other. If art is ubiquitous in nature then art is effectively life. Science deals with the study and examination of life. Kac’s art creates life that is made possible through the use of science. Therefore, in my opinion, the point Kac is trying to convey is that art is science and science is art.
Posted in Bio-Art
Tagged ancient romans, Art, Bio-art, digital age, dissemination of knowledge, Eduardo Kac, engineering, geometry, Greeks, interdisciplinary, knowledge, knowledge paradigms, mathematics, modern society, progressive shift, Romans, Science, specialisation, transdisciplinary, unification, world
“Multimedia and Multitasking: A Survey of Digital Resources for Nineteenth-Century Literary Studies” by John A. Walsh is a meet-the-parents moment for the digital scholar. Walsh acquaints his reader with the “parents of the digital age” (Walsh unpaginated); the nineteenth century and the industrial Revolution. He believes the nineteenth century “holds a special attraction for digital literary scholarship” (unpaginated) because of the parallels and similarities shared between the two eras’ proximate chronology. Like the digital revolution, the industrial revolution effectuated “rapid technological and social change” (unpaginated), resulting in a boom of information, and technologies to communicate that information.
After a brief historical overview of nineteenth century’s rich literary achievements, Walsh parallels the literature and culture of nineteenth century to the digital age. He links multimedia, the combined use of several media in computer applications, to forerunners like Blake, Ruskin and Rossetti’s work. Therefore, digital media is particularly conducive to the presentation of “multimedia primary works and related scholarship” (unpaginated).
However, there is an additional justification for Walsh’s infatuation with the nineteenth century. He claims the nineteenth century is “the final age of literature…freely accessible and unencumbered by copyright restrictions” (unpaginated). Copyright laws have prohibited the entry of works developed since 1923 to public domains until 2019, with the possibility of a further extension by wealthy copyright holders. This reopens the can of worms relating to open source distribution which I discussed earlier, and it appears that this proverbial can of worms will remain open for the foreseeable future.
Finally, Walsh includes at the end of his essay a number of digital projects targeting nineteenth-century literature that sum up his discussion of multimedia remarkably well. His examples illustrate the physical and financial restrictions of printed texts but, also, how the availability of digitized texts “is a great boon to literary scholarship” (Walsh unpaginated”).