I set out to explore the space between art and science, and the commonalities they share as being inquiring processes.
What’s universal about inquiry?
Aesthetics and sciences are both seeking truth. Aesthetics do this through a subjective lens, creating expressions of experienced beauty which we might equate with ‘reality’. Science seeks to define ‘reality’ by gazing through an objective lens, uncovering models that describe the world. Despite these differences, both are forms of inquiry into the human experience. A self-proclaimed ‘scientartist’, I feel limited by our cultural compartmentalization of these disciplines.
I’ve found that inquiry thrives when its participatory, iterative, and explanatory qualities are celebrated. This is my homage to those universalities.
‘Science’ and ‘Aesthetics’ as they are used here refer to broad, culturally associated terms. It is beautiful when these fields come together, and their intersections are myriad. With the introduction of the letter “A” for ‘Art’ into the acronym “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), we see a cultural shift toward a more interdisciplinary approach to inquiry. However, the differences between these fields remain important, and science and aesthetics should not be casually superimposed upon one another without mindful appreciation of their variant qualities. Sciences seek structure: laws, theories, models, equations. Perhaps the greatest scientific inquiry has been for a Theory of Everything: a single theoretical framework to explain all the physics of the universe. Aesthetics, in its search for truth through subjective beauty, cannot, by nature, be so rigidly deconstructed and modeled.
This exploration of inquiry has taken me to some rather odd places.
As an artist, I am not obliged to prove some Law of Universalities, but my approach has also not been wholly unscientific. In exploring my hypothesis that participatory, iterative, and explanatory facets of inquiry are universal, I have employed mindful appreciation of those characteristics in my own inquiry (my ‘inquiry into inquiry’, if you will). The result of my inquiry is a series of artifacts and illustrations. They have been created with various degrees of collaboration, in a forgiving, prototypal fashion, to communicate in a way that excites—in the hopes that my participatory, iterative, explanatory inquiry might spark future collaboration, iterating on this inquiry once again.