Saturday, April 28, 2012

Art & Science... featuring the work of Renata Spiazzi

"The idea of cross-disciplinary exchange seems to be catching on again. SEED, a NYC-based science magazine which pairs essays on genetics, geology, and history's most infamous math problems with knock-your-socks off design has partnered withThe Museum of Modern Art to host a salon aimed at sparking collaborations between designer, architects, and scientists.

'At the beginning the spheres can be quite separate,' MOMA's Curator for Architecture and Design, Paola Antonelli told Big Think. 'But when they discover each other and start talking the same language, it's really unstoppable.' One information architect offered solutions to help deliver accurate and readable data, a significant challenge to geneticists. Architects and scientists share an obsession with the building blocks of the world (and the universe), says Antonelli. 'Give them a push, and then they come together.'"

The quote above is from a recent Big Think article, The Beautiful Universe: A Convergence of Art and Science, that addresses a topic I've always been fond of: the dimension or discipline where art and science meet. For myself, that place has always been geometry. A mathematician operates and excels with numerical patterns, whereas the artist visualizes and utilizes actual patterns... in other words, a similar landscape described in two different languages. For the digital artist the two languages begin to meld into one via the fractal, and often by methodology, depending upon how the artist approaches the computer. Then again architecture, sculpture, and science are married through physics, inevitable matches. Archaeology and medical research are dependent upon physical pattern recognition... and the list goes on.

Perhaps, inside every artist is a scientist struggling to emerge, and inside every scientist is an artist following his or her own artistic muse. Art is a science, science is an art. The real question is, why would we ever think otherwise?


"When people ask me what I think about while I am creating, my answer is: I am dreaming of a new world, a new landscape, a new place no one has ever been to."

- Renata Spiazzi, via this MOCA page

The beautiful Julia Set that begins this post is by digital artist, Renata Spiazzi. I planned to do a post devoted to her work last year, but, in my usual haphazard way, this never came to pass. Sorry, Renata, it was nothing personal; just the chaotic reality that I call home.

Two of my favorite images by Renata are below... click on them for larger views.

For more of her amazing work, go to her website, and, for a MOCA article featuring Renata Spiazzi from last year, try here.

For a Digital Art Guild article on art and science, see The Art of Science by Annie Cavanagh.


  1. A most intriguing post, Dia. And YES! Art and science are much akin although different in approach. Science seeks to understand the world via replicable data whilst the other explores the world in a singular voice.

    As Claude Bernard, a French physician, once is reputed to have said, "Art is I; science is We,".

    Consensus and self can and should meet at an intersecting point and allow the two disciplines to merge in something that is more than either of the two can offer on their own.

    Science and art have often been collaborators - consider scientific illustration - rather than sworn enemies. I think the separation has been largely in the mind of the public-at-large. And too - the postmodern movement has certainly redefined art to a level that was not previously considered.

    Excellent post.

  2. Computer Science
    Computer is an electronics device that can accept data and instructions as input, process the data to given instructions and shows results as output. Computer also has ability to store data and instructions. The physical and tangible parts of the computer are called “Hardware”. “Software’s” are intangible parts of the computer system.

  3. Thanks, Bob, but I didn't elucidate very much in the post... I think Spiazzi's images were the real stars of the show.

    Yes, but when you really think about it, isn't Bernard's quote rather idealistic in scope... and somewhat simplistic? Because, let's face it, both artists and scientists are ego-driven to some degree.. "I" and "we" are relative terms... while, at the same time, the spirit of discovery and the desire to uncover life's mysteries are elements and qualities that are shared by both artists, scientists, creatives in general, and those in other fields and walks of life. In other words, "we" and "I" elements are present in both scientific and artistic inquiry.

    Scientific illustration is a good point... especially in the past, when many artists were also naturalists, observing nature in minute detail and recording what they saw well before the camera became the tool of the trade.

    Then again, If you remember from my "Language of Form" posts, there were scientists like D.W. Thompson who considered organic form to be a "diagram of forces", and I think anyone working with patterns and forms understands that statement both ultimately and intimately. But, a hundred years ago, there weren't such rigid lines drawn between art, science and religion, and perhaps those boundaries are beginning to dissolve again in some minds, leading to a more holistic understanding... a truly "unified field". ;-)

    Note to Noiln: Thanks for your input... but the computer is just a machine... the mind of the operator is the real "intangible", no? ;-)