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It’s no revelation that science and art have long been linked, the curiosity about the workings of the world aligned with artistic creativity. Recently, however, there seems to be more of a movement towards connecting the two worlds into a tighter community.
One of these voices — a bimonthly online magazine called SciArt in America — launched in August and published their third issue in December. “When I came to New York I was sure I would find a science-art community right away, but it was not that easy,” Julia Buntaine, editor-in-chief of the publication, told Hyperallergic. Discovering there wasn’t much of an online presence that focused specifically on the “SciArt” movement, she started something.
“I decided to focus on [SciArt] for two reasons — firstly, I am a science-based artist myself, so it was a very natural extension of my practice and interests and secondly, it is obvious to me that the SciArt movement is on the rise here, even more so internationally,” she stated. “It is a passionate, energetic, and brilliant community, and absolutely deserves more recognition from the art world, and more attention in the cultural sphere.”
Both their name and cover feel like a merger between Scientific American and Art in America. Recent articles feature work by artists like Jonathan Feldschuh who is inspired by the Large Hadron Collider, the Brooklyn-based Deconstructive Theatre Project that merges ideas from neuroscience with technology in performance, the future of science and art collaborations, and organizations like Genspace.
Genspace with its open-to-the-community laboratory on Flatbush Avenue has become another gathering point in art and science in New York City, where creatives from both spectrums can collaborate on experiments and projects. Buntaine explained that she wants “the science-art scene here feel tangible and important.”
There does seem to be a growing prominence to art and science collaborations. In Massachusetts the Lab Cambridge is on the horizon where art and science will merge in exhibitions, classes, and events, and the STEM to STEAM initiative is pushing to add art to the “hard science” core curriculum of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Meanwhile there are exhibitions like Knit, Purl, Sow at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where incredibly detailed knitted flora are displayed in response to the living specimens, and the recent “BioArt” (portmanteaux seemingly also on the rise) exhibition of art infused with biology at the Observatory in Gowanus. The American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium even just launched a stylish new space show called Dark Universe that is as focused on visual engagement as the deep space data.
Hopefully SciArt in America will be just one of many gathering points in New York City and beyond where the curiosity between hard science and art can be discussed and cultured. While they might be generally taught separately as disciplines, in the end both art and science are all about a very human desire to understand the world, why and how we’re here, and how we can use our time on the planet to explore in some way these issues. Perhaps in the strange futures dawning in the the 21st century, there will someday be no more art and science, and instead only “SciArt.” More likely, however, is with increased access to community laboratories, along with more writers looking critically at where science and art merge, new ideas can be inspired in both.
You can to read the latest issues of SciArt in America online. On January 27 they’re collaborating with Art Lab on an evening of “speed dating” in Brooklyn at The West (379 Union Avenue, Williamsburg) to connect artists with scientists.