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Consider this a scoop.
Imagining Science: Art, Science, and Social Change has won an award in the 2009 New York Book Show in the Scholarly & Professional category. The book is part of the Imagining Science project that was the brainchild of brothers Tim and Sean Caulfield. Tim is a Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta and the Principal Investigator for Genome Alberta's GE3LS project. ( GE3LS = Genomics and Ethical, Environmental, Economic, Legal and Social issues ). Sean is a Research Chair in Printmaking at U of A and an artist. Sean's work is part of the Imagining Science exhibit currently running at the Alberta Gallery of Art in Edmonton and Tim has an essay in the book.
The project was born in late 2006 and the first meeting of scientists, artists, and social commentators took place at the Banff Centre in Alberta in the summer of 2007. I had just started with Genome Alberta and attended the meeting. It looked like a great idea and I made sure we offered some financial and moral support for the project. Though hindsight is 20-20 there were a lot of people outside the project shaking their heads at the time we bought into the idea.
"Art and Science ?" "What's that all about?" " Why?"
One of the contributers to the book is Dr. Jim Evans and he takes on that question with an essay titled 'What is Science? What is Art? What Does it Matter?".
Dr.Evans is a professor of genetics and medicine at the University of North Carolina and Editor-In-Chief of Genetics in Medicine. He is also a terrific speaker and was one of the highlights of the public forum held in Edmonton just before the exhibit opened. He commented on the connection between art and science by saying that "Both likely began as efforts to understand and control a frightening and impersonal world". Dr. Evans has given us permission to post the content of his talk for you to look at. You can download the PowerPoint slides but as with all such downloads we'd like to remind you to respect the author's work and the time and effort he put into creating the presentation.
Science has a direct connection to the world and helps us understand things in definite ways, whereas art provides some warmth to our cold, cruel world and gives us all some context. The exhibit helps with that context in some cases and in other instances challenges you to consider what science is all about and where it may take us. The book does much the same by exploring the ethical, social and legal concerns around biotechnology. Though it includes many illustrations and pictures from the exhibit it is not a catalogue and stands on its own as an interesting and challenging read about a world of science that promises hope for many people while filling others with trepidation and fear.
We took on the role of one of the sponsors for very similar reasons. Science can have a tendency to sound a bit scarey while talking to us from an ivory tower somewhere without anymore context than to simply say "trust us". The book and the exhibit were a chance to challenge scientists to look inside their work, for artists to look outside their world, and for the public to look at both of them through each others eyes. I'd say they all did a heck of a job and we're really pleased to have been part of the project and to help open up the discussion about science and its implications.
The 'official' award is not until March but you heard it here first folks.
The Imagining Science Exhibit runs until February 1st at the Alberta Gallery of Art in Edmonton. The AGA is nicely located donwntown in Enterprise Square.
Imagining Science: Art, Science, and Social Change is published by the University of Alberta Press. Go ahead - get someone a copy for Christmas !
Did you know, Mike, that the University of Calgary is offering a disciplinary focus on arts and sciences as a combined field of study?
In addition, it is my view that some of the most ingenious latent scientists are the videographers for Hollywood. For instance, they seem to have motion parallax down to an art (or should I say science?).
Further to this, the 4D project at the Sun Centre of Excellence here in Calgary offers a cave environment for motion visualization of human organs and processes.
With this said, it seems to me that science can result in art and art, similarly, can result in scientific findings. It's too bad that we don't take this perspective with us through our daily routines, as I believe it is during the average daily motions that we come across some of the most beautiful moments of art and science combined, often slipping by our senses like lost revelations.
Then there is the combination of science and art with religion, as in the case of Shambhalla faith (please forgive my spelling), in which the perceptions are highly integrated with spirituality.
I hope to hear more on science and art from you when you get the chance, Mike, and thank you for the posting.
Mike Spear - www.genomealberta.ca
Thanks for the comments Susanne. The 4D Project definitely has art practically built into it as there are some amazing pictures in there. To actually capture the full effect requires an artistic eye and a good level of technical expertise.
We have posted a few pictures from the project on our Picasa photo sharing site at http://picasaweb.google.com/MikesGene/FourDimensionalModelingOfGeneticDiseasePatterns# but feel free send me more to add to it.