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STARTS - Science, Technology and the Arts - Preface

Book Cover Image: ict, art and STARTS

STARTS - Science, Technology, and the Arts

The Artistic Voices that DG CONNECT Silenced

Paul T Kidd

ISBN 978-1-901864-22-9 (Paperback)

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That which now lies before you, the unfamiliar content that forms this unusual book, you can like or dislike; this is your choice so choose. Yet, who among you knows the theories upon which this book is made, the aesthetic that has shaped its form, or what progression it represents in a life spent dancing with words? What do you know of the milieu that has shaped this dance, of the decades spent observing people, of being on the inside while remaining outside, and of a life-long engagement with the practice of knowing how to see? And what do you know of what it represents in terms of a step towards that which will come next?

Gyorgy Kepes said, in the preface to his book The New Landscape in Art and Science: “… preparing the book served as a kind of laboratory experiment …” and “… the visual and verbal statements neither parallel one another in exact correspondence nor follow one another in a strict causal chain. They complement one another in an interwoven sequence.”  Here too this applies. And then you ask: where are the visual elements? The answer is: find them.

Time now to use your imagination, which will transport you to another place, where it is a warm summer’s evening. You find yourself sitting in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the banks of the River Thames in London. The play is The Tempest. You hear words; it is Prospero speaking:

“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”

For many, the above represents the highest level of achievement of the expressive. But why is there so much ambiguity? And is it just the expressive, or is it more? Can a process that is grounded in the expressive also simultaneously be in the cognitive? Have you any idea what I am saying?

You have probably just learned something and you have only read a few words! What is it that most likely you just learned? The answer is simple: that there is more to using art in research than you ever imagined.

It is a truth, now becoming clear, that some artists have fallen in love with science and technology. And some scientists and technologists have also fallen in love with art, and together with artists they form the mutual admiration societies of art-science and art-technology. And being like lovers, they are inclined to whisper sweet nothings in one another’s ears. Then into this love affair, steps a third party, known by the name of DG CONNECT. Now there is a love triangle!

“The medium is the message” said Marshall McLuhan. He also said: “Our conventional response to all media, namely that it is how they are used that counts, is the numb stance of the technological idiot. So while others look at the outputs of STARTS and proceed to jump around in celebration, here examined are the media called STARTS, DG CONNECT, their artistic collaborators, and the love affairs called art-science and art-technology, along with their silent narratives.

We once more appeal to William Shakespeare, to provide some words for these star-crossed lovers; words that, one might say, are words of knowing:

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds ...”

Here in this book, you will find an alteration! Let us see then, in due time, what unfolds in this love affair.

So back now to the matter of the style of the book, which one can say, has made the familiar seem strange. There is the expressive, and there is the cognitive, and betwixt the two?
Here is a book that you could now read. Or not! The choice is yours. No? Then end here! But I go on.

Thus now do I turn mine eyes away from Brussels, for in eastern skies ancient stars do rise, and when in this direction I gazed, diamonds in the rough did, in hazy visions appear, seeking transforming hands to cut from natural form to make precious sparkling gems as if by strange magic appear.

Paul T Kidd PhD, CEng, FIMechE, FIET, SMIEEE
September 2016



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