Panel: art, science and emotional response

 

Ontario College of Art and Design, 8:00 pm.

Moderated by Toronto artist and curator Sally McKay, the panel featured microbiologists Abigail Salyers and Michael Schmidt in conversation with artists Oron Catts of Symbiotica and the duo Jennifer Willer and Sean Bailey from Bioteknica.

To a fairly concise introductory talk that gave each presenter a chance to shortly expose the development, the career choices and the motivations characterizing their work followed an animated discussion that involved the panelists and the public alike.

inevitably, questions such as “what is the role of the artist involved in scientific labs”? or “what is the message produced”? triggered even more complicated discussions including the function of funding agencies, corporate intrumentalization, ethics, spectacularization and public reception of science and the arts.

for instance, it is not clear what are the role, function and responsibility of artists and scientists working in the same context. for some, the artist, despite having an agenda when he or she enters a scientific lab, should not try to “indoctrinate” a potential public about the “dangers” or the issues related to the use of a certain piece of technology or with the imperatives dictated by a certain discipline.
for other, instead, the artist should be able to capture and be able to communicate science to a wider audience.

Intentionality, among the other issues raised tonight, will sure re-emerge in the next few days, when the panelists will be called to give more specific presentations and other artists and experts in the most diverse fields will certainly provide different and more complex takes