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The construciton of w/k has a complex structure. This section explains which areas and subareas it consists of. It depends on the incoming contributions which of these areas and sections are currently being served. Furthermore, this section discusses which specific goals are pursued in an area or section.

Contributions by artists, interviews with artists and contributions about artists

In w/k there are three areas in which the primary focus is on artists – the fourth area is art theory. An artist’s contribution is a text written by an artist himself. An interview is a conversation with an artist, and an article about an artist is a text written by another person about an artist. In all three types of text, the aim is, for example, to explain the scientific references of the respective artist and to work out the underlying artistic concept. The reason for such a contribution can be a concrete exhibition, but it does not have to be.

All variants of the connection between science and visual art should be shown to advantage in black and white. This will facilitate and improve the understanding of these activities; in the long term, an overview of the entire field will be gained. In terms of art, w/k focuses mainly on the visual arts (painting, sculpture, installation art, photography, film/video, performance), but other art forms are also considered at the margins.

The editorial staff endeavours to organise the three areas mentioned in such a way that they are as attractive as possible for the visual artists. The following regulations serve this purpose:

  • The artists can present their artistic works created in recent years – e.g. works with a reference to science – within the framework of the design guidelines decided by the editorial staff. In addition, a w/k experimental field will be created for current works, for which design rules will be newly developed on a case-by-case basis. In this experimental field, for example, a video of an action can be published that an artist makes especially for the online journal. Such a presentation can in turn be supplemented by a normal text contribution explaining the artistic experiment.
  • The list of institutions is assigned to the three areas. The institutions that deal with connections between science and art, of whatever kind, are listed here: Galleries and museums that from time to time exhibit such links, foundations that, among other things, or primarily promote such links, as well as scholarship opportunities that arise in this context.

Science-related art

Those artists interested in science or who deal with scientific theories methods and results in one way or another have been in great demand over the past decades. This section will feature their work. It is the goal of this section to present the entire spectrum of visual arts related to science. This is to point out what those kind of artists actually do. The same holds true for the other sections of Exhibition. Together with Jens Helmus and Peter Tepe, Luzia Hürzeler is responsible for this section.

With regard to science-related art, the online journal features a specific profile which also entails clear dissociations. The following artists do not belong to this field:

  • those who primarily deal with such disciplines claiming that their scientific insights are highly controversial, e.g. esoteric psychology.
  • those who are primarily concerned with religious or non-religious ideologies (e.g. Christianity, Buddhism, anthroposophy, atheism).
  • those who primarily deal with literary writers and texts; however, artists who have closely examined e.g. literary theories and used them for their artistic work are eligible.

Aristic Research

Terms like “artistic research” “art research”, “art through research”, “aesthetic research” and other similar concepts have been used for several years now and have even reached the status of fashionable terms.

Artistic researchand the different variations of this term that come with it have become much quoted as well as questioned catchphrases that have also been included in the reflection and practice of art schools and academic institutions as well as in (European) political guidelines for culture and the creative economy. They have resulted in the establishment of new institutes, journals, societies, funding programs etc. At the same time, scientists, scholars of social sciences and humanities and also artists as well have a critical attitude towards the concepts, forms and programs of artistic research.”[1]

This section features work carried out by artists who rely on concepts of artistic research. Only some concepts of artistic research show a reference to science; these variations are of major interest as far as this online journal is concerned. However, the other variations are also taken into consideration, in order to be able to set the clearest boundaries possible.

Border crosser between science and fine arts

The online journal refers to those individuals who work in both fields: in science as well as in visual arts as border crossers. In this section, they will exhibit their artistic work; those exhibits might have a content-related reference to their scientific activities; however, this is not mandatory.

The artistic work of border crossers will only be considered if their artistic activity features a certain level of artistic professionalism and independence. This is contrasted by dealing with visual arts on an amateurish level that does not go beyond the obtainment of basic skills. The project is not about scientists who produce art as a hobby. The Board of Editors will therefore check whether this requirement is met.

For the selection process, It is not important whether the person crossing those predefined borders is a mathematician, natural scientist, medical doctor, social or cultural scientist, scholar in the humanities or philosopher, nor does it matter where or how they work (at a university (of applied sciences), a research institute, in the corporate sector, as a private scholar etc.).

Cooperation between scientists and visual artists

This section is to present artistic work resulting from all the above-mentioned forms of cooperation as well as to explain their scientific incorporation. It will additionally feature a historical retrospect on earlier forms of cooperation between scientists and artists within the field of visual arts – one example being painters and draftsmen who participated in research expeditions in order to create illustrations of plants and animals hitherto unknown in Europe. The concepts of aesthetic science serve as a more recent example. Martin Tröndle understands it as being

„a process using artists and their specific knowledge and competences and applying them to other contexts outside of the art system: Artistic competences and procedures are combined with those from science in order to generate new knowledge regarding certain problems. […] Forms of perceptual insight in a scientific context in order to generate new knowledge […] are crucial. […] The production of a different knowledge that would not have been possible with solely artistic or scientific methods takes place as a social practice in the research process.“[2]

Artistic components in scientific teaching and publications

In this section, scientists present the aforementioned artistic components and explain what significance they have within their teaching and research. Additionally, the historical retrospect on earlier constellations of this kind is discussed.

In this online journal, the presentation of artistic work is systematically connected to its scientific research. This approach promotes scientific progress. The entire design enables artists, scientists and the interested public to follow different interests and to connect them to one another.

Go to “Articles about artists” section

Here the artistic activities of the past and the present, which belong to the interfaces between science and the fine arts, are examined more closely by art historians and art scholars, e.g. in individual studies.

  • Kunibert Bering (Kunstakademie Düsseldorf) and Rolf Niehoff, who are among the cooperation partners, mentioned some possible topics in a conversation: Piero della Francesca; Andrea Pozzo in S. Ignazio in Rome; Athanasius Kircher; Pictor doctus in the Middle Ages; in the 16th century: Vasari contra Gian Paolo Lomazzo and Giulio Delminio Camillo; Ruskin: The Stones of Venice; Prinzhorn; Max Imdahl; Apfelmännchen – Mandelbrot set: computer-generated art; Gerhard Richter: Silitium.

The core area is concerned with art historical and scientific research into all forms of the connection between science and the fine arts.

Interviews with important scientists and artists

The programme also includes interviews with personalities of outstanding importance relevant to the online journal, e.g. important border crossers between science and the visual arts, outstanding science-related artists and renowned scientists.

Structure of the “Art Theory” Section

The relationship between science and art has been (again) the subject of increased reflection in recent years. This is demonstrated, for example, by the anthologies Kunst und Wissenschaft[3], Kunstforschung als ästhetische Wissenschaft[4], ArteFakte: Wissen ist Kunst – Kunst ist Wissen[5] and various online texts[6]. In order to promote reflection on the relationship between science and art in general, a theoretical forum will be established in which all aspects of this relationship can be dealt with.

Through the close connection with the artists’ contributions, the interviews with artists and the contributions about artists, an objectification of the discussion especially about the relationship between science and visual art can be achieved. For example, it makes sense to start with the individual artistic activities in order to make general statements about the relationship between science and the visual arts on the basis of many presentations of this kind. In this way, we counteract premature generalizations that are also frequently found in specialist literature. The reflection on the relationship between science and the visual arts receives new impulses through the presentation of the artistic works and the accompanying research, so that advances in knowledge can be expected.

Overall, it should be noted that there is no art theoretical forum with a comparable profile.

Further to ► Goals of w/k

[1] J.-B. Joly / J. Warmers: Künstler und Wissenschaftler als reflexive Praktiker – ein Vorwort. In: M. Tröndle / J. Warmers (Hrsg.): Kunstforschung als ästhetische Wissenschaft. Beiträge zur interdisziplinären Hybridisierung von Wissenschaft und Kunst. Bielefeld 2012, S. IX–XII, hier S. IX.

[2] M. Tröndle: Zum Unterfangen einer ästhetischen Wissenschaft – eine Einleitung. In: Tröndle / Warmers (Hrsg.): Kunstforschung als ästhetische Wissenschaft (wie Anm. 2), S. XV–XVIII, hier S. XVI.
[3] D. Mersch / M. Ott (Hrsg.): Kunst und Wissenschaft. München 2007.