Our first Think Tank was held in Leipzig at the Kunstkraftwerk in April 2016, titled “9 Evenings Revisited – In Theory as in Practice” involving 20 artists and scientists from Russia, Taiwan, the UK, US, Canada, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany. This occasion marked the launch of the platform itself, which was developed by artist-curator Candace Goodrich together with biochemist Dr. John LaCava from the Rockefeller University. The think tank included scientific lectures, artist talks, artsci film screens curated by the Science Festival of Moscow, and educational workshops with refugee children, underprivileged youth, and prisoners from Regis Breitingen in Saxony. We coincided the genesis of ArtSci Nexus with the 50th anniversary of the monumental exhibition 9 Evenings Theater and Engineering, as a tribute to the Swedish engineer Billy Kluever who in 1966, brought together 30 engineers from Bell Laboratories to cooperate with 10 prominent artists at the 69th Regiment Armory in NYC. It was in homage to this historical happening, that we began the Nexus, as a contemporary reformulation of the organization, E.A.T., Experiments in Art and Technology, which operated from 1967-2002, with 28 chapters internationally. E.A.T. facilitated collaborative relationships between artists and engineers, and produced exhibitions, a periodical, and workshops that expanded C.P. Snow’s concept the “Third Culture”, that called upon the universities to reintegrate the arts, humanities, and sciences, in order to more effectively and actively address social and political issues that faced contemporary society.
Since the 1960’s, the digital revolution has precipitated the development of innumerable new fields of scientific research, such as biochemistry, nano-technology, neuroscience, and quantum physics, to name just a few, and as a result, we have witnessed incredible advancements across the spectrum of scientific disciplines. In order to expand the communication of science beyond the laboratory, scientific journals, and conference settings, we have constructed a context in which scientists and their universities and artists and cultural institutions, can begin a new dialogue with one another with annual think tank and public presentations globally. The experimental nature of creative expression as an open, flexible, and inventive vehicle, extends the exposure of scientific themes to the public, using creative analogies and representations to make ideas accessible, promoting interest and literacy in the sciences.
9 Evenings Revisited: In theory, as in practice… focused on one particular aspect of science that is especially shrouded from public perception – the worldwide sharing of information now fundamental to the scientific community. This is the soul of the scientific effort, without it, progress and discovery would move (by todays standards) impossibly slow. Technological advancements that assist scientists in collecting data and analyzing effects have exponentially increased the flow of information between researchers. This is true even for traditionally data sparse sciences (e.g. the advent of the ‘Omics’ revolution and systems biology in life sciences), and a whole field of ‘information science’ exists to catalog, quantify, and coordinate information both as a concrete and abstract resource. For artists, technology has also provided them with a new set of tools and an entrance point into scientific topics. This, we felt, was a fitting subject to investigate, as these same terms apply to the enhancement of communication between people – broadening modes of education, fostering interconnectivity, diversifying our identities and ways of thinking.
As a result of the first Think Tank, 3 teams developed, Bacteriality, Arrthymia, and Well-Tempered Brain, and two external team joined the Nexus, Hybrid Bodies, and the Gatekeeper.
Artistic Director: Candace Goodrich – Scientific Director: Dr. John LaCava