SFMOMA x Berkeley Lab: Hybrid forms

Yesterday I invited Tanya Zimbardo from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to give a talk at Berkeley Lab (details about the even can be found here: Hybrid Forms: Connecting Art and Science)

Tanya Zimbardo (SFMONA) at Berkeley Lab

It was quite interesting to hear her perspective on a topic which is close to my heart, and happy to hear many references to Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, who currently has the Techs-Mechs exhibition running at the Gray Area, but also quite surprising not hear anything about Jim Campbell (whose art glows atop the Salesforce building “Eye of Sauron”) or the work of Illuminate.

Here are my introductory notes:

  • Art and science share a lot in common, expanding human knowledge.
  • We often refer to the “state of the art” in science, since we want to improve on what’s possible.
  • Art differs from science often in that it often doesn’t have an immediate purpose. In that respect, it allows to use technology in different ways and question science (e.g. AI development)
  • Fun fact: former lab director Paul Alivasatos did have an artist in residence (Kate Nichols) in his lab, working on quantum dots that created colors and texture that no pigment could reach.
  • Art allows one to reach out to many audiences and let their imagination flow, without the tight constraints of scholarly knowledge imposes. As such, art is a key component to improve diversity in academia, as emphasized in the report from the National Academy of science on “The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education

There were interesting question about art and science, and the Western cannon. Could technology expand the reach of art (beyond NFT and AI – real, serious art)