COLLIDING WORLDS by Arthur I. Miller

COLLIDING WORLDS

How Cutting-Edge Science Is Redefining Contemporary Art
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Miller (Emeritus, History and Philosophy of Science/Univ. Coll. London; Deciphering the Cosmic Number: The Strange Friendship of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung, 2009, etc.) suggests that we are “witnessing the birth…[of] a third culture in which art, science, and technology will fuse.”

As the author explains in this review of current trends in avant-garde art, he does not mean this to be taken metaphorically. He believes there to be an actual convergence that extends beyond the use of animation and holography in film. In the future, he writes, “art, science, and technology as we know them today will disappear, fused into a third culture—leaving the door open for the next, as yet unimaginable, avant-garde.” The possibilities inherent in digital technology are one part of the story of how advances in technology can be transformative, but the author focuses on the fusion of cutting-edge science and art to form a new discipline, “artsci.” A good example is the collaboration of artists and scientists at CERN, a collaboration organized in 1997 by Ken McMullen, a professor at the London Institute (an umbrella organization of area art schools.) This led to a London exhibition called “Signatures of the Invisible,” which included a depiction of a particle accelerator using plaster and plastic bags from a supermarket, and another “creat[ing] three-dimensional illusions which seem to move as you walk in front of them” to illustrate paradoxes rooted in perceptions. Miller introduces readers to artistic works that translate sound into light displays and a proposal for bioengineered bones for use in displays and biojewelry. The author suggests that shocking as some of these examples may seem, so too were the cubist paintings of Picasso and the atonal music of John Cage before becoming mainstream.

Intriguing, especially for aficionados of the avant-garde.

Pub Date: June 16th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-393-08336-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014




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