ART AND SCIENCE: what relationship? [Art and science in 72 authors | e-book no. 239]
Literary Prize “The Garden of Babuk – Proust en Italie” VI Edition 2020
I am honored that my article: “ART AND SCIENCE”, for a literary competition organized by “La Recherche”, was published today on page 178 of the Anthology, whose link is shown above.
Thanks to the editorial staff of “La Recherche”, a literary magazine online, from the bottom of my heart
ARTE E SCIENZA: quale rapporto? [L’arte e la scienza in 72 autori | e-book n. 239]
Premio letterario “Il Giardino di Babuk – Proust en Italie” VI Edizione 2020
Sono onorata che il mio articolo: “ARTE E SCIENZA”. per un concorso letterario indetto da “La Recherche”. sia stato pubblicato oggi a pag. 78 dell’Antologia di cui il link sopra.
Un grazie alla Redazione della rivista letteraria online “La Recherche”, dal profondo del cuore.
Starting from the irrefutable assumption that each of us has an interpretation of subjective reality in the context of a collective perception, which is the genetic and cognitive heritage of the human race, Art and Science are certainly subject to the laws of an implicit symbolism that forces us to seek the hidden meaning of life on earth in relation to the Universe and the eschatological ends of humanity. This continuous search for being in and of itself, projected into the cosmos, has always characterized philosophical studies since the time of ancient thought.
As far as I’m concerned, through the sources of Greek philosophical thought and beyond, Art and Science are apparently unique. Perhaps the most sublime expression of this combination can be found in Leonardo da Vinci, a Renaissance man par excellence, through his devices, the invention of machines and the formal beauty of his paintings. In the latter, in particular, the fading of the atmosphere leads the viewer to look beyond the picture at the imaginary nuanced natural scenario, such as in the Mona Lisa.
But this does not mean that Leonardo stops at the appearance of the form when the image shows not only what appears to us in its tangible reality, but also the metamorphosis of a world that the mind recomposes in its making. The atmosphere, dissolving, fades into the mists of memory or the artifices of illusions.
Today we men follow technological developments slavishly without often being able to keep up with this rapid revolution. So what can we say about the relationship between Art and Science when the thresholds of the millennium have opened up on unspecified worlds difficult to understand between quantum theory and information teleportation?
The prevailing skepticism was caused by the separation between Art and Science, since the latter was deliberately split from the first by an arbitrary operation starting from the 1800s when the Industrial Revolution began to knock loudly on the doors of humanity.
The ancient Greeks, from Socrates to Plato and Aristotle, to speak of the pillars of our western thought, up to Humanism and the Renaissance, have been able to combine Art and Science well. There was no break between them at the time, but an osmosis from one to the other.
Science is Art that manifests itself in galaxies fleeing to infinity with an increase in entropy starting from the famous Big Bang.
Art is Science and vice versa, as Piero della Francesca (prospective studies aimed at interpreting reality), Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and all the great painters of Humanism and the Renaissance have shown us.
Today there is a need to combine these two great pillars of human knowledge. Even the Avant-gardes of the 1900s have shown us this also through, for example, Computer Art.
The union between the two seems to come true in a dance of infinitely small particles. I feel in the spin of photons, however distant from each other, that infinite dance of participatory experiences that makes our awareness the true mystery.
We are clots of atoms and therefore of energy, as Einstein’s famous equation (E = mc ^ 2) teaches us, or rarefaction of consciousness (the soul) through neurons that connect to each other by sending electrical impulses. The secret of our being is hidden in the mystery of the brain, a sort of micro world within a macro world, whose real boundaries escape us.
We are ̶ as the Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher taught us beyond the geometric and conventional patterns of the world ̶ particles of God splashed on Earth like meteoric fragments, or a concentrate of infinity like our invisible soul that underlies many of our frustrations and desires.
We work little on the soul and a lot on the body: the appearance of reality offends the unspoken beauty of the divine, inside us, abstract like a modern painting by Klee or Kandinsky.
The key to interpretation is probably hidden in the Avant-gardes of the 1900s: Art = Science. In a timeless world, we find ourselves a little confused because the weight of biological time crushes us as well as gravity. The physical theories of Einstein and Max Planck touch peaks inaccessible to most and difficult to understand. Mixed with tangible reality and linked to our Earth-Sun reference system, we feel safe only in our spacecraft, ready to destroy our fellow humans and the planet along with many plant and animal species.
We look away from the truth for fear of the abyss that opens up before us, the abyss of different dimensions from the comforting vision of our small enclosure. No longer accustomed to dreaming, we take refuge in the usual crackdown, bored and tired, floating in the ether in spite of ourselves and favoring objects that do not give us the longed for happiness.
Then, suddenly, a door opens for the initiated and Art advances, in many forms: poetry, painting, writing, music, etc. Science advances in minds illuminated by mathematics, physics, in the play of photons that follow the gravitational curvatures of the worlds of light.
The same universe designed by Einstein is a wonderful work of art. Physicists mathematically draw it by struggling in abstruse equations; artists use sounds, lines, colors and rhymes, brush strokes of dreams. But basically, there is the man who pushes the accelerator of knowledge and uses all possible tools to access information.
It will be that, thanks to the quantum theory, the teleportation of information will make us travel with the thought faster than a beep or the same light. Be careful though! You can’t travel faster than light! Einstein proved it mathematically. So here is the doubt that assails me now: is thought or is it not faster than light? What is thought made of? Consciousness, awareness, reason, evanescent soul? Thought is the extreme rarefaction of an elaborate process that goes beyond the speed of light, beyond energy itself. In black holes one day, perhaps the answer will be found in vain …
If creativity, as M. Emmer argues, is the factor that unites Art and Science, if imagination is the flywheel that sets in motion the same mathematics, certainly the mathematical description of the universe is like the plot of a poem. Therefore the basis of a correct approach to the universe is essentially mathematical and the latter is a poetic description of the very essence of nature and of us men.
This assumption makes us reflect on the dichotomies of nineteenth-century thought when the foundations of the separation between classical and scientific studies were laid, giving priority to the former at the expense of the latter. As if the Renaissance, with the poetry inherent in the famous Leonardo’s machines or in his paintings, as well as in those of Michelangelo or Raphael, had passed in vain without leaving a trace of the close relationship between Science and Art. On the other hand, the lesson of the ancient Greeks resurfaces in the humanistic and Renaissance culture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and then spread from its Florentine cradle to all of Europe.
Codification and classification have intentionally, for reasons of further specialization, trapped the human knowledge in rigid schemes, boxing the notions and dividing them into sectors.
Hence the notionism that harnessed knowledge and study by fragmenting it into categories and which, starting from the end of the 19th century, divided the Italian school system according to more rigid models and less responsive to the fluidity of knowledge.
If Einstein rebelled against them, appearing at the beginning of his schooling as a bad math student, we should not be surprised at the consequences that such a rigid culture has generated in human minds.
As an antidote to social mapping , where the worst dictatorships that history points to us due to the devastating consequences of the two great world wars populated populistically, then the Avant-garde adverse to the rigidity of the Academies proliferated.
Today we can rightly say that the twentieth century was a special century, even from the aspect of absolute evil (Hitler and the Holocaust), for having freed men’s minds from habituation to models that have become too rigid. We are now the result of that metamorphosis, on which the technological revolution that has made leaps and bounds is screwed.
Here then opens up new worlds before us, often unprepared to follow the pace of technological evolution, which show us apparently different paths, but basically very similar to that Greek / Renaissance model that seems to have been lost among the swirls of smoke from the chimneys of the pre / postindustrial era.
The new frontiers of art appear on the horizon, making use of scientific methods and making use of those tools that only technological evolution has managed to make available to us. Computer Art, for example, born in 1950, is the result of the experimentation of Ben Laposky (USA) and Manfred Frank (Germany). Were the latter artists? No, two mathematicians and programmers, with innate predisposition for graphics.
Digital art, therefore, which at the beginning caused a scandal but which subsequently led artists to greater expressive freedom through the use of digital technologies starting from the 70s.
Fractals or Digital / Pixel Art, Digital Photography, Electronic Literature, Electronic Art, Computer Poetry, Electronic Music, etc., are all expressions of the union between Art and Science in the concreteness of the modern panorama of the interrelationships between different areas of human knowledge.
The interrelationships between art and technology are manifold as are the areas of application.
If mathematics represents the most rarefied form of Poetry, the comparison between body and soul comes to mind. The soul for me is like Mathematics: we do not see the latter concretely in many manifestations of the Universe and in scientific applications, yet without it we would not now have all those complex devices that surround us in our real life or those science fiction spaceships that are put into orbit. So while not being able to see the soul, we assume that it underlies the awareness of our actions.
Therefore, Mathematics rises to the highest level of knowledge of the entire universe. Without its formulas, simple or abstruse, we could not describe distant worlds, the same black holes or the inviolate depths of the sidereal space.
So what is the aesthetics of Mathematics? That of the beautiful formulas or its side effects? Without mathematical equations nobody today would believe Einstein’s relativity, like Max Planck’s Quantum Theory (1900).
Quantum teleportation is one of the great topical issues in physical science. Twenty years ago, this phenomenon was a theoretical possibility. Today the experiments are in full swing. We men are like St. Thomas. Our vision is highly limited and, if we stop at it, we would risk not discovering other infinite evolutionary and cognitive possibilities.
Einstein was a visionary, as were all scientists. Max Planck has gone beyond Einstein, beyond the localization of events, beyond the time itself that does not exist if not biologically (cluster of atoms that form bodies and that thermodynamically undergo an aging process), subatomic particles (like photons), although distant, can behave as a single system. It is a departure from the principle of locality (an object can only be influenced by its immediate environment), dear to Einstein and his theory of restricted relativity. An explanation may be that of the “hidden variables” that elude us. Thus, even if distant, these particles have an effect on each other.
In the light of recent discoveries, we need to reflect on how Art = Creativity is also the basis of logical thinking and how Mathematics, the fruit of imagination, and by extension all sciences are the means to get to knowledge. In conclusion, there is no hiatus between Art and Science, but a bi-univocal correspondence between them.
Art = Science as both need the imagination that goes beyond mere knowledge of our apparently temporal and structured dimension to calibrate itself on a perception of an apparent reality, but necessarily concrete for the performance of human activities (Barbour, author of the famous essay: “The end of time”).
I quote to conclude St. Augustine, philosopher and father of the Church 4th-5th century AD, and his spiritual theories. For the Bishop of Hippo, time is a dimension of the soul, it is the consciousness itself that expands to embrace the past and the future with the present. Time represents for him a subjective dimension due to the human spirit which gathers in unity the plurality of dispersed external experiences. Although evolution has been great today, ignorance of knowledge appears to overcome all aspects in that it contemplates only the purely material and apparent side of things.
To conclude, we have lost the ability to listen to our soul by reducing it to a pure material object. But both nature and it speak to us continuously through the flow of vital energy that flows in the universe. It is enough to know how to listen to the voice that comes from within us and not the mere brain impulses, merciless mental clothes, often messengers of negative and destructive thoughts.
By Franca Colozzo