Art & Science –Socially-Engaged? Keynote

Beloff, L. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesKeynote or plenary lecture

Description

KEYNOTE - Abstract: During the recent decade, we have become widely aware of environmental and climatic challenges, and how our current lifestyles are not sustainable in the future. Similarly, the recent years have seen an increase in interests towards a genre of art that deals with crossover between art, science and technology. This genre, often simply referred as art & science, points out already in its title a connection beyond the field of art towards other disciplines. One can ask why has this area gathered a lot of interests in the arts during the last decade; is it because of the ecological crisis we are encountering; is it a reaction by artists opposing the commercial and elitist art world; or some other reason? The practices and art works, located under the title of art & science, often include non-human living species from bacteria and fungi to larger animals and plants, whereas, in contrast, the term socially-engaged art is commonly used in reference to art that deals with societal and political issues and often aims at supporting equality, inclusion and other positive values within human society. Art & science projects that incorporate non-humans can be critically scrutinized from the perspective of socially-engaged art. Though, the term socially-engaged points towards inclusion of scientific and other interests beyond art for art’s sake, one can ask about the role of the non-humans included in the art & scienceworks and also about art’s legitimacy for doing this. Karen van den Berg (2019) has categorized a type of participatory or socially-engaged art as ‘spectator art’ in her typology of three distinct categories, which are exemplified by art works that deal with refugees. Van den Berg defines ‘spectator art’ as art that integrates refugees as performers. In a comparable way, many of the art & science works that are directed for human audiences are constructed as a designed experience for us (humans) to observe another species from a safe distance. The talk will discuss social engagement in the field of art & science from artist’s perspective. It will include a selection of exemplifying art works from the author and other artists.
Period9 Mar 2021
Event titleMidterm Conference of the European Sociological Association Research Network Sociology of the Arts & Sociology of Culture: The social effects of art
Event typeConference
LocationHelsinki, Finland
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Keywords

  • art & science
  • socially-engaged art
  • non-humans
  • spectator art