Art touches science

I’ve had a 1st rate visual evening: first, my wife and daughter decorated our 2,4 m Christmas tree with items collected in 30 years, glitter, balls and the like. Then I find – through an article in a collection of research articles on aesthetics in science (German), a link to studylog, a knowledge discovery tool, developed at the Univ. of Hamburg’s multimedia education center (the beta version can be downloaded – the development later joined a larger e-learning platform, CommSys) – looks like an exciting KM development. And then, through the developer’s, Torsten Meyer’s blog, I stepped on this one: Information Aesthetics – a great collection of ideas, implementations and information.

On the site is an ad for a new O’Reilly book on “Visualizing Data“, which is apparently (the book’s coming out in Jan 2008) based on its own visualisation environment, called processing. (version 1.0 is a free download) – this is indicative for the new wave of connections between (computer) sciences and the arts. As is obvious even from only glancing at these results, products and processes: art touches science (again – remember the first visualisation of fractal mathematics). Will science let itself be touched by that, too? Art – unlike science not a religion – is easily impressed: if scientists can learn one thing from artists, then it is a way of creating without dogma. (Of course, there are dogmatic artists, too, as well as non-dogmatic scientists. However, the existence of a paradigma implies a number of behaviors that can be called dogmatic without too much of a stretch.)

The praise for a precursor of this book, and for the processing environment, is amazing – example from reviews:

“Not since the Bauhaus have visual artists revisited technology in such a world-changing way.”

(Ellen Lupton). Wow.

To end on a personal note, as I began (after all, it IS Xmas): my sister presented me with a lovely glass-fountain pen made by Bortoletti in Venice (her: “right next to the Rialto bridge!”), which is wonderful to write with … a small plaquette in Italian and English came with the pen and sounds quite poetic:

“What you have in your hands will come to life with time. It was hand made with precious and unchangeable material. The creations of the foundry are of guaranteed quality, excellent finishing touch and represent the meeting point between historical and modern design. They are rich of history and personality.”

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