Monday, February 09, 2009

BPN 1299 Science and (digital) art

I was in Bratislava (Slovakia) last week. It was hectic to get there. Czech Airline did not cooperate to be in Bratislava. The plane was late in Prague, but 10 minutes before take-off to Bratislava. But the boarding desk refused me boarding. I had to spend another 6 hours in Prague Airport and missed my meeting for that afternoon. Hospitality is not the DNA of Czech Airlines. The next morning I slipped from a curb stone and was knocked down to the ground. It took my breath. I scratched one of the glasses of my spectacles and the bump left me with a badly bruised shoulder.

But after this bad luck I was able to get down to business. I was in Bratislava to attend the conference Aplimat, a meeting place of mathematicians. Not exactly a place for people with my interests and background (philosophy and theology). But I was there as part of the Scienar project team. The project is an EU funded project (Agreement n. 2008 - 2254 / 001 - 001 CTU MECOAN) and runs for two years, starting from November 2009. At the Aplimat conference the project team presented an afternoon on the theme Maths and Arts. It was most interesting. Marcella Giulia Lorenzi presided the session, while Mauro Francaviglia presented the Scienar (SCIENTIFIC SCIENARIOS in (and for) ART) project.

The project SCIENAR takes into account the common European cultural heritage that is profoundly based on the links existing between Science and Art, from the very beginning of the Greek Culture, through Renaissance, until present time. The project aims to build an interdisciplinary approach using mainly digital technologies to explore the present day interactions of these two facets of our culture, bringing together both communities of “Human Culture” and “Scientific Culture”.
The starting and leading idea is that these two facets are NOT separate entities – as they frequently happen to be considered – but just two facets of the SAME Culture, which encompasses all human endeavours to understand, represent and transcend the whole of our knowledge of “reality” in which we live. These are two facets that share a common past, a common present and a common future; two facets, the mutual interrelationships of which are profound and extremely important.
A further leading idea is that mathematics – the basic language of all science and in fact fundamental for the development of many other fields of human thought – subtly pervades our everyday’s life. In particular we shall be exploring in Scienar – from various viewpoints – the deep interrelations that existed and still exist between Mathematics and Art, basing our work on the continuous and reciprocal benefit that each one of these two disciplines can gain from the other. Mathematics can be more easily understood when it becomes clear that “mathematical structures” provide a description and sometimes a language for the corresponding structures existing, more or less manifestly, in artworks; as well as Art – a creative and imaginative act - can be helped or even inspired by techniques or reasonings that belong to the field of Science and to the constructive and descriptive language of Mathematics.
The declaration of SCIENAR states, that Mathematics has evolved along with our way of conceiving, perceiving, experimenting and representing “reality”; while Art develops the means to harmonise, describe, represent aesthetically, transcend and transfigure the World of our sensations and perception. History of Arts and Science tells us that Mathematics and Figurative Arts (Painting, Sculpting, Carving) have often developed in parallel.
A completely analogous pathway is recognizable in other forms of Visual Art, in Architecture, in Music, in all forms of “modern and contemporary Art”, from Photography to Film, up to Digital Art.

(c) Marcella Giulia Lorenzi

The project SCIENAR is based on the following starting points:
a. The need of visualizing science to better communicate it;
b. Virtual Laboratories as a vehicle to better understand and teach science;
c. The deep interplay between science and art;
d. The digital technologies as a tool to produce new art;
e. Art and digital technologies as tools to produce new science.

The project SCIENAR explicitly aims in particular to:
1. create an interactive environment for both Scientist and Artists;
2. review and analyze the existing scientific environments;
3. formalize and develop three scientific scenarios
SCENARIO # 1: The birth of geometry at the time of Greeks: the role of proportions, the music of cosmos, platonic solids, the golden mean.
SCENARIO # 2: The role of symmetry and prospective in renaissance: the birth of perspective and projective geometry, symmetry in art, the beauty canons in painting, architecture and music.
SCENARIO # 3: The new mathematics and art of xx century: curvature, impressionism, cubism, fractalism, motion and fourth dimension, digital art.
4. produce art installations and exhibitions in the domain of art & science;
5. constitute an international network concerning these (and other) scientific scenarios for art.

Blog Posting Number: 1299

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