ArticlePDF Available

The Relationship between Art, Science, and Technology

Authors:

Abstract

Artists are the most who influenced by the different aspects and situations around them. Through their endeavors to express this, they use different techniques of creation, consciously and unconsciously. The involvement of science and technology for using these techniques is inevitable, which led to the argument of how scientists and artists collaborate and contribute in promoting culture and knowledge. Art is always associated with emotions by looking into the 'why', while science has to convince through raising the question of 'how'. While artists are using science as an available mean to express their vision, scientists use coherent lines, shapes, and models to explain the world. This paper will explore the relation of art, science, and technology as three inseparable concepts through various works of art since the second half of the twentieth century, how they were able to explore new perceptions of the world, and how this relation has been useful in promoting culture and knowledge.
International Journal of Education and Social Science; Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
ISSN 2410-5171 (Online), 2415-1246 (Print)
Published by Research Institute for Progression of Knowledge
60
The Relationship between Art, Science, and Technology
Asmaa Youssef Mohammed Elmongi
Master's Student
Alexandria University, Faculty of Fine Arts
625 El Horreya St., Alexandria
Egypt
Abstract
Artists are the most who influenced by the different aspects and situations around them. Through
their endeavors to express this, they use different techniques of creation, consciously and
unconsciously. The involvement of science and technology for using these techniques is
inevitable, which led to the argument of how scientists and artists collaborate and contribute in
promoting culture and knowledge. Art is always associated with emotions by looking into the
'why', while science has to convince through raising the question of 'how'. While artists are using
science as an available mean to express their vision, scientists use coherent lines, shapes, and
models to explain the world. This paper will explore the relation of art, science, and technology
as three inseparable concepts through various works of art since the second half of the twentieth
century, how they were able to explore new perceptions of the world, and how this relation has
been useful in promoting culture and knowledge.
Key-words: Artistic Practice, Scientific Theory, Digital Art, Contemporary Art, Technology
Introduction
There is an opposite attraction between Art, science and Technology. Artists have become interested in concepts
and methods of science and technology. They integrate them in ways that are considerably different from
conventional media in their art. On the other hand, scientists tend to create coherent models for exploring the
world, which rely on imagining ideas and concepts through shapes and lines.
There was a clear resemblance between artistic movements and scientific revolutions. This can be shown in some
examples which include; Kepler's discoveries of the theory of ellipse and the oval structure in Baroque, Newton's
experiments of prism which allow the light to pass through it to a room via a narrow aperture and the interest of
the way light enters buildings, the idea of Light Quantum and Seurat's quest to create Pointillism, Units of time
and space in the theory of relativity and Futurism through which artists created several consecutive shots like
Marcel Duchamp's painting "A Nude Descending a Staircase", the scale relativity theory and the spatial variation
in the work of Cézanne, and the list goes on.
The painter Patrick Heron argued that art defines how we see the world. He says that it provides us with the
creative vision and perception, and this goes back to the strong connection between the changeable art movements
and our consciousness. What proves Heron’s statement most is that Art and artists were the first to be affected by
the unprecedented technological development in the digital media that has been emerged since the late 1950s till
date, in which called "The Digital Revolution". This was in addition to the emergence of the "World Wide Web",
which became an important factor for the global communication since the mid-1990s.
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
61
"Digital Art" became an affirmed term in the late twentieth century. Its emergence coincided with several idioms
and names of technological art forms. In the 1970s, it was referred to it as "Computer Art", and later became
"Multimedia Art. With this regards, there are significant principles that differentiate between art that is produced
by using digital technology as a tool for the artistic creation; like photography, printing, sculpture, and music, and
art that is created by using these technologies as their main way of expression, which is saved in a digital form
with an opportunity of developing interactive environments. Through the latter, the audience is an integral part of
the artwork. Despite both types of art share the same inherent features of digital technologies, they are clearly
different in their expressions and aesthetics.
Interactive art is one of these types of Visual Art that depends on digital technologies, with a changing operational
framework. The constant interaction of the artwork components and the audience is a major factor, through which
the visual production of the artwork is more substantial. For instance; the artwork "Grace", in 1996, created by
"Jack Dollhausen", is a wall hanging device. It releases a whistle every hour, as it senses the distance and
movement of the audience. It produces the sound which it has made during its stillness. This sound is different
every time, as it does not reproduce the same sound again.
One of the most significant types of digital arts, of a very unique visual impression, is Holographic Art which
depends primarily on holographic technologies. It is a form of three-dimensional optical formation that provides
intensity to light, takes a 3D shot of the object, and display it. Consequently, the holographic scenes give the
objects a spectral transparent shape.
This paper will discuss several types of digital art that reinforced the tripartite relation of art, science, and
technology since the second half of the twentieth century. However, some examples will be mentioned from
earlier, as an evidence of the old endeavors towards this relation.
The Mutual Relation of Art, Science, and Technology
Robert S. Root-Bernstein discussed the visual thinking by describing the mutual aspect of both art and science as
"the creative process and the synthetic thinking". [1] For instance, Albert Einstein was a proficient at the "visual
imagining of thought experiments", and this was of a considerable significance to his work.
Artists and scientists also have a mutual desire, which is their contribution to the "welfare of humanity". The
period of Renaissance was characterized by the collaboration of art and science, which led to the emergence of
Greek philosophy and the artistic and cultural improvement. It was also incorporated in the work of Leonardo Da
Vinci (1452-1519) who was a practicing artist of physical and natural sciences, through which he accomplished
numerous achievements, as his notebooks included “art, architecture, philosophy, astronomy, and engineering”.
Another example of the Renaissance is Galileo who lived a life of an intellectual enrichment, represented in his
studies of music and perspective drawing. This is in addition to being an expert in mathematics, physics, and
astronomy. His scientific achievements were parallel to the scientific and intellectual prosperity in the 17th
century, as astronomy, microscopy, and optical phenomena were the impetus for the development of lenses and
mirrors, which in turn has provided artists and scientists with a new perception of nature.
1. The Role of Photography in Art
In the modern science and art, photography offered a new interpretation to the world. It changed the artistic
perception, “both technically and philosophically” in a few years, and rapidly became an art movement on its
own. The artist Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) studied “running horses’ motion”. He captured - for the first
time - the four horse's hooves are "off the ground at one stage of its stride". This considered as an unrealistic shot
that realism artists were trying to avoid. In other words, this artwork led to a new perception for artists for seeing
the "physical world".
Photography also was a tool of drawing in the 17th and 18th century. It diffuses all the visual details that may
confuse the eye on a "flat surface". "Dutch still-life and the topographical paintings" are examples of this practice.
Painter Johannes Vermeer is one of the most significant artists of this genre in the seventeenth century, and
Canaletto in the eighteenth century.
From the 1850s through the 1870s, was the emergence of "illustrative Photographs", which was similar to the
storytelling style of painting at the time. Henry Peach Robinson was the most famous artist of this type of
photography who created many illustrative and metaphorical composite photographs.
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
62
In 1862, a group of French artists formally protested photography. They considered it a mechanical process. Some
even considered painting was dead. However, the evolution of photography accompanied with the emergence of
Impressionism.
While impressionists were fascinated by painting the nature, especially, landscape, photographers were affected
by impressionists. This led to the emergence of “Pictorialism”, which is a style of photography that concerns with
aesthetics and personal emotional response to a subject. George Davidson was an impressionist photographer who
created "The Onion Field", in 1889, through using a Pinhole Camera that softened edges giving a dreamy haze,
and it was printed through a specific soft focus technique preferred by Pictorialists.
2. The Role of Modern and Contemporary Art
Modern and Contemporary Art are extremely important concepts of the relation between art and science, which
explore several aspects of science and technology. Marcel Duchamp in his work The Large Glass (1915-1923),
shows a great interest in science. (Figure 1) This artwork which is also known as “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her
Bachelors, Even was created from “lead wire, lead foil, and dust” rest between two glass panels, set in a metal
frame with a wooden base. [2]
For creating this artwork, Duchamp made many studies and notes of physics and perspective rules, and created
what he called The Green Box”, which is a small box that included “notes and clippings” describing the work
through myth along with rules of physics. The small container contained pieces of paper that “can be read in any
order”, which made endless meanings. He also created his own language for describing or calling the elements of
his artwork.
The nine forms in the lower left that represent the Bachelors are called by Duchamp “Malic Molds”, as Malic
refers to the word Male. The word Bride which is part of the work’s name means Mariée in French, and the word
bachelors means Célibataires. The upper side of the artwork represents the “female realm” and the lower side
represents the “male realm”, and the first three letters of each word in French consists the word Marcel, which is
the first name of the artist.
Several artists in the contemporary life are creating artworks through the integration of art and science,
developing a “critical thinking”. The Brazilian artist Eduardo Kac discussed this issue through his artwork GFP
Bunny”, 2000. He described his work saying: “It is a transgenic artwork and not a breeding project”. (Figure 2)
As the artist mentioned on his website:
“The transgenic rabbit has no skin pigment; under ordinary environmental conditions she is completely
white with pink eyes. Alba is not green all the time. She only glows when illuminated with the correct
light. When (and only when) illuminated with blue light (maximum excitation at 488 nm), she glows with
a bright green light (maximum emission at 509 nm). She was created with EGFP, an enhanced version
(i.e., a synthetic mutation) of the original wild-type green fluorescent gene found in the jellyfish Aequorea
Victoria.” [3] (Kac, 2000)
The artwork was created with the assistance of “zoo-systematician Louis Bec, and scientists Louis-Marie
Houdebine and Patrick Prunet”. The abbreviation “GFP stands for green fluorescent protein”. [4] This artwork
shows the relation between performance as an artistic field, and biology and physics as a scientific and a
technological field. The relation between art and biological sciences has not stopped at this point. The Portuguese
artist Marta De Menezes along with the assistance of scientists Radu Aricescu and Nuno Micaelo, in the
laboratory of Professor Yvonne Jones has developed the artwork “Proteic Portrait (Retrato Proteico, 2002)”, in
2002. [5] (Figure 3)
De Menezes has used proteins as an art medium to create a representation of a 3D self-portrait. According to the
artist’s explanation, Protein is constructed from 20 different amino-acids. Each of them has a single letter. The
artist created a protein with her full name:
MARTAISAVELRIVEIRDEMENESESDASILVAGRACA
In order to create this protein, she had to produce a gene that would be added to bacteria, which in turn would
make this protein. As the artist mentioned in a conversation with the author:
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
63
“Proteins are strings of amino-acids in a sequence; each amino-acid has an electric charge. As a
consequence when they are produced they will fold on themselves and take a unique 3D shape to the
protein. It has not the objective to look like me, but to represent me because it is my name, and my name
is (in a very important way) me.” [6]
Internet has also a great impact on the mutual relation of Art and Technology, which is represented in the field of
digital art. The project K., in 2007, was developed by the Portuguese artist André Sier. (Figure 4) Through which
he created multiple modifications of "imagery experimented by K. in The Castle by Franz Kafka". The Castle is
a novel of a character called only K., who arrives in a village and struggles to gain access to a castle where the
mysterious authorities who govern the village live. The user goes through a "browsable" endless journey of
"spatial abstraction". [7]
The Relation of Art and Science in an Academic Context
The previous examples show the contemporary contact of art with scientific and technological fields. However,
there was always a need for discussing and exploring this subject in an “academic context”. The works created by
artists such as Teresa Almeida, Rosa Oliveira, and Isabel Azevedo are the most influential in the application of
scientific theory to the artistic practice.
Teresa Almeida's research discussed the "light and color in Luminescent artworks" through some new materials
like glasses that are provided with "Lanthanide Oxides" which are used in artworks, as “they emit light with
different colors under ultraviolet light". Almeida explained that the development of these materials has taken
place at "Research Unit VICARTE" - a partnership between the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the
Universidade Nova de Lisboa and the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidade de Lisboa - which is used for
teaching and for glass research. [8] One of its aims is to develop the contemporary art of glass and ceramics with
new materials, as it has accomplished significant results through the interaction between art and science students.
Rosa Maria Oliveira and Isabel Azevedo have been collaborating with artists and scientists of different fields for
supporting their research about “materiality and immateriality in New Media Art” which debates “holographic
techniques and its integration in artworks”. [9] Both researchers find that the artistic interest in light, Kinetic art,
electronic art, video art, and new media art, and the interaction between artist and audience through the artwork
are very important issues for art and art education.
Another example as a continuation of the academic context of art and science collaboration is the work of artist
Adam Zaretsky, who obtains a PhD of Integrated Electronic Arts, 2012. The artist tested the activity of a type of
Bacteria called “E. coli” settled in Petri dish by playing “a certain Anglo-Indian pop music for 48 hours”. The
result was the increase of antibiotic production of the Bacteria. [10]
Virtual and Analogous Environments in the Context of Art and Science
Scientific facts can be discovered through a work of art that creates a display of a virtual world, which provides
not only the information, but also the aesthetic aspect of objects or experience. One example, the work of Prokop
Bartonicek “Worlds as Fragments” describes the "behavioral Dynamics" of objects through focusing on time
processes of motions in different entities “when changing the magnetic field”. This microscopic atmosphere
creates a virtual space like a “fluid Planetoid”. [11] (Figure 5)
“Deep Data (2009-2016)for Andy Gracie is another example, which receives data from Pioneer and Voyager
probes and recreates “elements of the solar system environment” within microorganisms that are used for space
and astrobiological research. (Figure 6) Through monitors that display the incoming data and the live video of the
microscopic species experiencing the “shifting magnetic fields”, the artist can observe the interaction of the
organisms. [12]
In 2011, Gracie created another work titled "Drosophila Titanus". (Figure 7) The work explains the endeavors to
develop a specific species of the fruit fly that is “theoretically” capable of living on “Saturn's largest moon Titan"
that is considered to host an environment, to some extent similar to Earth. “Drosophila Melanogaster is a “model
organism” that has 95% genetic similarities to humans, and has been used in space based experiments. For
executing this experiment, Gracie created a technological system designed to interact with natural living systems
of Titan. The artist explained that it is a virtually impossible project to be completed successfully in “pure
scientific terms”. However, this project is an endeavor to extract artistic metaphor through a process within the
debatable “complex relationship” between art and science. [13]
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
64
Conclusion
Based on the previous, art, science, and technology cannot be separated. Many issues are reflected by this
tripartite collaboration by many artists and students of both artistic and scientific fields who debate various issues
brought out by technology itself. These entire attempts to generate specific results are useful for accepting
different possibilities, for taking advantage of new technologies to pursue more development, or to define “ethical
boundaries”.
References
Albuquerque, I., & Almeida, T. (2014). 'Rethinking the Relationship between Art & Science in Contemporary
Art: Practice & Theory in the Portuguese Context'. 6th International Conference on Digital Arts -
ARTECH. Faculdade de Belas Artes, Universidade do Porto, Portugal. (2012). PP. 393-395
[8] Almeida, T. (2006). Light and Colour in Luminescent Art Works. Project Report. Research Unit, VICARTE.
Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Universidade de Lisboa
[11] Bartonicek, P. (2010). Worlds as Fragments. Retreived from http://www.prokopbartonicek.com/waf
[5] De Menezes, M. (2012). Proteic Portrait. Retrieved from http://martademenezes.com/portfolio/proteic-
portrait-2/
De Mèredieu, F. (2005). Digital and Video Art. Translated from (French) by (Elliott, R.). Edinburgh: Chambers
Harrap Publishing. ISBN: 0550-10170-5
Dollhausen, J. (1996). Grace. Retrieved from http://www.jackdollhausen.com/shebang/works/grace.htm
[1] Garfield, E. (1989) The Art-Science Connection. Essays of an Information Scientist, Vol. 12, pp.54-57.
[12] Gracie, A. (2009). Deep Data Prototype_1. Retreived from http://hostprods.net/projects/deep-data-
prototype1/
[13] Gracie, A. (2011). Drosophila Titanus - 2011 - Ongoing. Retreived from http://hostprods.net/projects/quest-
for-drosophila-titanus/
[2] Harris, B., & Zucker, S. (2017). Marcel Duchamp, the Large Glass. Retrieved from
https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-1010/wwi-dada/dada1/v/duchamp-largeglass
[3] [4] Kac, E. (2000). GFP Bunny. Retrieved from http://www.ekac.org/gfpbunny.html#gfpbunnyanchor
Margot Lewis, K. The Conversation between Painting and Photography in the 21st Century: An analysis of
selected paintings by Peter Doig (1959) and Luc Tuymans (1958).
Marien, M. (2002). Photography: A Cultural History. Great Britain: Laurence King Publishing
(2013). Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of Witwatersrand, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Johannesburg
[9] Oliveira, R. and Azevedo, I. (2011). Concepts and Approaches of Material and Immaterial In New Art Media.
Universidade De Aveiro. Portugal: InSEA Publishing. ISBN: 978-963-08-1596-3. Retrieved from
https://ria.ua.pt/handle/10773/8047
Peat, F. (1998). Art and Science. Retrieved from http://www.fdavidpeat.com/ideas/artsci.htm#top
[7] Sier, A. (2007). K. Retrieved from https://andre-sier.com/k/k/
[10] Sobanova, P. (2016). Useful Symbiosis: Science, Technology, Art & Art Education. Palacký University
Olomouc. Czech Republic. PP. 84-86. ISBN 978-80-244-4853-4
Strosberg, E. (1999). Art and Science. France, Paris: UNESCO Publishing. ISBN: 92-3-103502-9
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
65
Figures
(Figure 1) Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), 1915-
23, 277.5 × 177.8 × 8.6 cm © Succession Marcel Duchamp (Philadelphia Museum of Art), Source:
Essay by Dr. Lara Kuykendall
(Detail 1) Marcel Duchamp, Malic Molds and
shattered glass.
(Detail 2) Marcel Duchamp, Female Realm.
(Detail 3) Marcel Duchamp, Male Realm.
(1)
(2)
(3)
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
66
(Figure 2) Alba, the fluorescent bunny, GFP Bunny, 2000, by Eduardo Kac,
©http://www.ekac.org/gfpbunny.html#gfpbunnyanchor
(Figure 2) Eduardo Kac and Alba, the fluorescent bunny, GFP Bunny, 2000, by Eduardo Kac,
©http://www.ekac.org/gfpbunny.html#gfpbunnyanchor
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
67
(Figure 3) Marta De Menezes, Proteic Portrait, 2002, ©Marta De Menezes
(Figure 4) André Sier, Project K., 2007, ©Andre Sier
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
68
(Figure 5) Prokop Bartonicek, Worlds as Fragments, 2010, ©Prokop Bartonicek
(Detail Figure 5), Prokop Bartonicek, Worlds as Fragments, 2010, ©Prokop Bartonicek
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
69
(Figure 6) Andy Gracie, Deep Data (2009-
2016), ©Andy Gracie
hostprods
(Detail Figure 6) Andy Gracie, Deep Data (2009-
2016), ©Andy Gracie
hostprods
(Detail Figure 6) Andy Gracie, Deep Data
(2009-2016), ©Andy Gracie hostprods
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
70
(Figure 7) Andy Gracie, Drosophila Titanus, 2011, © Andy Gracie hostprods
www.ijessnet.com International Journal of Education and Social Science Vol. 6 No. 5; May 2019
71
(Details Figure 7) Andy Gracie, Drosophila Titanus, 2011, © Andy Gracie hostprods
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Book
Full-text available
Art and science and the interactive forces that often pull them together and at times ultimately separate them is the central theme of Useful Symbiosis: Science, Technology, Art & Art Education. While aiming to ignite a productive debate on the overlapping tendencies of arts and the exact natural sciences, the book also seeks to address the educational dimension of these intersections. In their quest to define the relationships between visual arts and sciences and their technical applications, the authors of the book, among whom are also art historians, artists, scientists and pedagogues, believed it beneficial to first analyse the concept of the scientific approach without any preconceptions, and to demonstrate its advantages and limitations. Adopting the same approach to the issue of arts, the authors succeeded in offering extended understanding of the two realms of human culture. Numerous examples of ‘useful symbioses’ that follow the theoretical part of the book help further support their claim that science sometimes ‘does art’, and art can sometimes ‘do science’, and sometimes the borders between art and science disappear altogether.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper will present and discuss the need to rethink the relationship between Art & Science through Contemporary Art. It will analyze some examples of visual arts works where theory and practice combine, as product of the collaboration of multidisciplinary teams from different knowledge fields. The examples presented here will specifically address the work by Portuguese artists that explore Science in a creative perspective.
Article
Some of the art of the 20 th and 21 st centuries is what is understood as such by means of an essentially conceptual approach, a different contact with the materials. These are more and more numerous and diversified and their exploration possibilities and their potential richness must be understood. Materiality in Art has been questioned since Marcel Duchamp. Other artistic movements like Dada Movement and the Russian Suprematism were the first to make their way through paths leading to different experiences of Immateriality in Art. The Suprematism artists insisted that there is just a step from the material to the immaterial, and they made several attempts to release Art from material realization. As a consequence, new ways should be discovered to reach what is the essence of Art, the expression of a pure spirituality. With the new Technologies, the increasing artificialization and dematerialization of plastic material reinforce a trend to a form of conceptualization and rationalization of part of the current artistic production. Among the components of the immaterial we can find the transparent materials, – glass, light –, as well as the ones that result from speed and movement, making the shapes explode and diluting the materials in a never-ending metamorphosis process – kinetic energy, video –, what results from the spirit and the thought, – language, concept –, what is necessary to the operating method of the virtual work – computers, the internet, holography.
Light and Colour in Luminescent Art Works
  • T Almeida
Almeida, T. (2006). Light and Colour in Luminescent Art Works. Project Report. Research Unit, VICARTE. Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Universidade de Lisboa
Translated from (French) by
  • F De Mèredieu
De Mèredieu, F. (2005). Digital and Video Art. Translated from (French) by (Elliott, R.). Edinburgh: Chambers Harrap Publishing. ISBN: 0550-10170-5
Deep Data Prototype_1
  • A Gracie
Gracie, A. (2009). Deep Data Prototype_1. Retreived from http://hostprods.net/projects/deep-data-prototype1/
Marcel Duchamp, the Large Glass
  • B Harris
  • S Zucker
Harris, B., & Zucker, S. (2017). Marcel Duchamp, the Large Glass. Retrieved from https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-1010/wwi-dada/dada1/v/duchamp-largeglass
  • E Kac
Kac, E. (2000). GFP Bunny. Retrieved from http://www.ekac.org/gfpbunny.html#gfpbunnyanchor