Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Reichle (concept) · Interdisciplinary project »The World as Image«. Visual Cultures in Art and Science
Rethinking Representational Practices in Contemporary Art and Modern Life Sciences. Workshop on Monday, October 16th 2006. Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities

The workshop about Visual Cultures in Art and Science will bring a group of international experts together to frame this increasingly important topic at the Berlin- Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities on October 16, 2006. The aim of this workshop is to extend investigations of visualization in art and science and the use of images as visible evidence in science and the complex role of visual representations.
By contrasting selected works of contemporary art with recent scientific developments, it is possible to demonstrate that art today not only serves to comment on science, but also represents a form of research and knowledge production in its own right, though one belonging to a radically different epistemological tradition. Moving beyond the postulated dichotomy of the objective sciences and the subjective arts, contemporary art shows us that art is no longer limited to the production of beautiful artefacts, but has established its role as a legitimate form of knowledge production in its own right.

The engagement of art with science ranges from artists' iconological handling of scientific imaging to research projects executed as artistic endeavours by artists working in the laboratory. In the last two decades we have seen a number of artists leave the traditional artistic playground to work instead in scientific contexts such as the laboratories of molecular biologists. Such artistic interventions in genetics and biological forms have made possible new means of artistic expression and art forms, like »Transgenic Art« and »Bio-Art«. The use of technologies from the field of current research in the life science by artists ranges from tissue engineering to stemcell technologies and even transgenic animals, a phenomenon that raises ethical questions with regard to both scientific and artistic endeavours. Visual illustrations have always been used in the natural sciences to make visible scientific relationships, to visualize theories, or to graphically capture the results of scientific experiments. Today the visualizations in modern Life Sciences range from advanced image technologies that offer evermore detailed views of the microstructures of the organic world, to imagebased computer simulations that are no longer based upon a physical-biological reference system and that open up a new biotheoretical space, to representations become life, such as transgenetic animals and clones.

Scientific visualizations arise as part of a complex interplay of different agents. They are produced as part of a laborintensive process of production and negotiation and are to a great extent constructed artifacts and do not simply depict or form reality and/or the »object« of the respective investigation or experimental environment. Even photographic or other optical recording techniques do not simply record the phenomena of nature, but rather fix the state of prepared objects for the production of a visual record. Graphic representations, too, do not directly depict measured data, but rather are translated or converted into other media and visualized in diverse presentational forms that can be expressed using various representational conventions: in the form of curves, diagrams, or complex image rasters or other symbolic representations. With respect to this development, it may be assumed that the increasing »pictorialization« of natural science practices will lead to a transformation in the production of knowledge in this field and will force a change in perspective from the logic of life to the logic of images, the consequences of which we cannot yet determine. New directions in research, such as those offered by neurobiology and studies of consciousness, provide greater insight into the working of the mind, and molecular biology continues to provide us with a better understanding of the structure of the living world. Their scientific explanations of the structures and processes of body and mind challenge our conception and understanding of what we call »human nature«.

Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Reichle
Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Interdisciplinary working group »The World as Image«
Jδgerstr. 22/23, 10117 Berlin
phone: +49 30 20 37 05 73
fax: +49 30 20 37 04 44


9.00 – 9.15 Ingeborg Reichle (Berlin)
welcome and introduction

9.15 – 10.00 Christine Heidemann (Berlin)
Dilettantism as Artistic Research Method

10.00 – 10.45 Käthe Wenzel
Subversive Preserves? – Scientific preserving techniques in contemporary art

10.45 – 11.00 Coffee break

11.00 – 11.45 Steffen Siegel (Berlin)
Map bodies

11.45 – 12.30 Miriam van Rijsingen (Amsterdam)
Art Framing Science?

12.30 – 14.00 Lunch break

14.00 – 14.45 Suzanne Anker (New York)
High Rez/Low Rez: Kaleidoscoping Nature

14.45 – 15.30 Herwig Turk (Vienna/Lisbon)
One cannot say where the Organ ends and the processing starts! (Oswald Wiener)

15.30 – 16.15 Jenny Boulboullé (Amsterdam)
Getting in touch with biotechmatter: investigating laboratorial practices in the Life Sciences and Visual Arts

16.15 – 16.30 Coffee break

16.30 – 17.15 Frank Rösl
Interdisciplinary interaction between art and basic research: what can scientists learn from artists?

17.15 – 18.00 Karsten K. Panzer PerZan (Cologne)

18.00 – 18.30 Ingeborg Reichle (Berlin)

19.00 Dinner
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Visual Cultures in Art and Science . workshop reader .  download pdf (2,86 mb) »

Visual Cultures in Art and Science . workshop reader .  download pdf (2,86 mb) »