When Collision Brings Rebirth: On the Generative Collision of Art and Science

Mindcamp Random

by James McAnanama

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 10.06.13 AMOh to be born into a rebirth! Imagine coming of age in the Renaissance – witnessing the social determination to give diplomacy the old college try (and give colleges the new college try…).

We would have seen our temporal worlds in collision; after suffering famine and plague we had had enough from our old world and were now demanding change. We were fed up with our parents who acted like they lived in the Middle Ages. Everyone was just getting over the Black Death (or not), and it was time for living if you were still alive! We had decided to embrace our lives here on Earth and our first order of business was to make as much nude art as possible. Oh to be young and in love in 14th Century Tuscany!

As we settled down, our second order of business was to stop blaming society’s problems on the supernatural – this was a time of scientific observation and the pursuit of true knowledge. Gone too were the days of forgetting to pick up the eggs at the supermarket, we now embraced the utility of writing stiff down. Times, they were a-changing!

Granted, some things stayed the same. Take for example all of the Greek and Roman architecture that we liked. Unfortunately, our forefathers were so busy building and destroying empires they neglected to leave us the instructions – not even a wiki on the subject! Our only way forward was to combine art and science and the will of our soul to rediscover what had been lost. But in so doing we ignited with ourselves a burning curiosity (the good kind of burning that too much curiosity can bring). We were driven to pursue art and science as one – by the early modern times we were known as renaissance men (unfortunately we were a pretty sexist bunch in those days…).

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the best of times or the worst of times (those days occurred a few hundred years later and were amazingly coincident), but it was certainly a time of collision and rebirth. It was a time of convergence in art and science and it was magic!

Where did the magic go? Our empires are now financial, but they are still very busy destroying themselves for greed. The plague and famine are still here too. We maintained the scientific model, we still write stuff down, and we have been adding to the nude art collection. The recipe should hold – where did we go wrong?

Maybe cultural ratcheting is to blame. Has our scientific model has made us too specialized to have, as individuals, the polymath arsenal like those Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles from the Renaissance? Have we lost our ability to pursue art and science as one? Maybe we have. However, maybe we don’t have to go it alone. Maybe all we need to do is welcome the collision of our worlds and work to become the Renaissance Team, a co-flow of art and science, a new age of magic.

mcananama_jamJames McAnanama presents Unleash Your Geek: Discover the world of electronics for artists at Mindcamp 2013.

The artwork quoted at the top of the article is by French artist Léo Caillard… the same guy who dressed Louvre sculptures as hipsters and photographed them. Well worth checking out his work.