nettime's_institutional_memory on Mon, 14 Mar 2005 13:35:18 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> you've got funds digest [fusco, jaeger]

Re: <nettime> art vs science
     coco fusco <>
Re: nettime-l-digest V1 #1560
     Timothy Jaeger - THING <>

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Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 18:18:24 -0800 (PST)
From: coco fusco <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> art vs science

Dear Ryan, Martha and others:

I wasn't trying to criticize all art/science
collaborations. However I agree with those who point
out that money always comes with strings attached, so
to assume that private monies from industry or public
monies from the department of defense will not entail
having to tow the line in some way is quite quixotic.
Students of today have no memory of another time, when
schools did not operate so blatantly according to
corporate models of management and measurement.

It is important to remember that artists and
scientists worked together before universities decided
that this was a way to bring more money into the arts,
before corporations decided to invest in these kinds
of joint ventures,etc. Who talks anymore about how
early photography experiments involved chemists, about
the ways that artists worked with doctors to create
uncanny anatomical studies in 2D and 3D, or even about
art/tech/science collaborations in the 60s that gave
rise to electronic art?

I have more faith in collaborations that are initated
by like minded individuals than those that are imposed
through funding agendas. While I do know of some
examples of art professors who find good ways to work
with scientists, I also know of many instances in
which these relations are forced and artificial. Too
often, grants demand that an artistic collaboration be
complete within a limited time period, and thus
simplistic artworks are the results. Too often,
artists make work about science that is illustrative
and uncritical and I frankly am not very interested in
attending exhibtions that look like high school
science fairs. Too often, hard scientists look down on
artists who they are forced to work with and expect
artists to act as decorative advertising- that
happened to several of my students a few years ago
when they asked to be included in a science conference
- the scientists wanted posters! Let's not forget that
despite the dreams of radical artists that they can
become experts and interventionists everywhere, most
scientists are fairly smug about their control over
their discourses. I have had some unsavory encounters
with very advanced neuroscientists who are absolutely 
retrograde in their understanding of art and
pontificate during conferences about Romantic poetry's
link with the workings of the brain - yawn.  I have
colleagues who have tried to inject more critical
perspectives into the new technology/science programs
and have gotten ejected from their departments as
troublemakers. Suffice to say that the present
imperative to bring the arts together with the science
does not yield a perfect world or freedom of
association. As others have pointed out, the pressure
to bond with science has also justified the lack of
attention to other issues that affect arts education
and practice. 

--- ryan griffis <> wrote:

> well, i don't know about the sciences taking a hit for art scenario.
> Take Jackie Stevens' analysis of the biotech/PR/culture industry for
> example. And there are enough ongoing
> collabs between science-based industry and art

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Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 22:31:30 -0800
Subject: Re: nettime-l-digest V1 #1560
From: Timothy Jaeger - THING <>


> In two ways. Qualitatively, the degree of separation between the
> industry ad the grad students' "exhibitions" is far less than between
> you do, and few schools would have allowed the suggestion that they
> directly feed the goals of an industry to go unchallenged.

I don't see the distinction you do between educational institutions and
goals and exhibition opportunities that you do. In fact, the mission
statement from your alma mater, and the school I currently attend, states:

"By its composition, the Department of Visual Arts is biased in the
direction of actively producing artists and critics whose presence at the
center of the contemporary art world necessitates reconsideration and
reevaluation of artistic productions, their information structure, and

Well, 'actively producing' is part of getting an education in the arts, and
reconsidering and reevaluating artistic production is also at the forefront.
It makes sense that as an artist, technologist, or techno-artist,
art-technologist-activist, etc. to consider different funding possibilities
that might not have been possible when you were a student. From what I can
gather groups like the YES MEN, for instance, were able to pull of their
CNBC performance by utilizing corporate resources that wouldn't have been
accessible under other types of funding, but nevertheless, I don't feel that
pre-ghettoizing myself into accepting certain only types of funding or
resources instead of others is necessarily beneficial to an art practice.

>> Secondly, in pairing with the sciences in such a brutally obvious way, it
>> shows that art has much to gain from such pairings.  Does science have much
>> to gain from the art world (in other words, are scientists looking for the
>> same grants that artists are?) Of course not. It's actually a win-lose
>> situation in art's favor (consider the scientists who lose funding to an
>> art/science collaboration).
> This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. There is no zero sum pie in
> which artists gain at scientists' expense. Art's value is as
> decoration, as ideological cover, and as R&D. Individual scientists
> may not gain more than inspiration, rather than dollars, but
> corporations, shareholders, and perhaps, oh, who knows--the
> ARMY???-might.

This statement is totally reactionary, Martha. There are number of groups
and individuals that blur the lines between the two disciplines (SymbioticA
in Australia, Natalie Jeremijenko, even a fellow UCSD graduate student
Shannon Spanhake-   for starters..), and are
able to access funding and resources from 'the other side'. This value is in
being able to critique the methodologies that scientists, bio-engineers,
etc. use in re-configuring our genetic landscape..not as boosters for the

>> If the computing/arts department at UCSD can get additional funding
>> that provides more research opportunities for graduate students, then
>> me and my friends/fellow graduate students will be happy campers. ;)
> on a personal note, I am a graduate of the UCSD visual arts
> department--where my first exposure to programming was in a class taught
> by the late Jef Raskin-- and I am so sorry to see it going in the
> direction that your post seems to suggest.

I am glad that people are passionate and resourceful and able to find ways
to conduct their research, exhibit, and produce challenging work besides
waiting around for NEA grants (last time I checked - no new media..)

Tim Jaeger

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