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Vincent Icke — Art and Science

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Vincent Icke's presentation @ Taiga Space, May 30 2012.

It is not necessary to know what beauty is, if one wants to measure what people find beautiful. In 1883 Francis Galton, one of the founders of probability theory, investigated whether it was possible to read off the character traits of people from their faces. In an attempt to emphasize what certain faces have in common, Galton constructed some sort of "photographic average" of a number of human faces. He discovered that most respondents found such an "averaged portrait" more attractive than the individual portraits. In other words, people find the mean more beautiful than the extremes. Experiments of this type show that the human sense of beauty is extremely conservative. Of course there are sound biological reasons for this. But what does this imply for art? And more extremely, does this have any implications for science? Do people find common-or-garden science, such as botany or classical mechanics, more beautiful than extremes, such as quantum mechanics or molecular biology? And finally, does a sense of beauty help in the production of scientific insight?


Part of Dutch Wednesday, Dutch Institute in St.Petersburg, www.nispb.ru.

Listen to the audio: http://nispb.ru/files/dutchw/IckeArtAndScience300512.mp3

Published in: Education, Technology
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Vincent Icke — Art and Science

  1. 1. Science & Art Vincent IckeSterrewacht Leiden & Alien Art
  2. 2. Vincent Icke Who am I and what am I doing here?• Theoretical physicist• Utrecht, Leiden, Cambridge, Caltech, Minneapolis, Leiden, Amsterdam• Gerrit Rietveld Academie• Visual artist and designer• Discuss about science and art
  3. 3. Catalogue of retrospective exhibition 2011 Edited and designed by: Charlotte Lemmens & Gusti de Schipper Pruisisch blauw Vincent IckeVINCENT ICKE onderzoekerIn wetenschap inmiddels gepokt en gemazeld, in popularisatie van die wetenschap bekend engeroemd. Als kunstenaar ook, voor een kleiner publiek. Daar moet maar eens verandering inkomen. Dus ter gelegenheid van een overzichtstentoonstelling in het Museum Jan van der Togtin Amstelveen nu ook een boek over zijn onderzoek en ontwikkeling in de beeldende kunst.Veel plaatjes, maar natuurlijk ook weer praats. Zoals een medestudent op de Gerrit RietveldAcademie eens zei: “Stel een vraag aan Vincent over zijn werk, en je krijgt er direct een collegeover.”Prof. dr. Ruud Lapré en Hans den Hartog Jager leverden belangrijke bijdragen. Erkentelijk zijnwe ook voor de grepen uit het hart van de eigenaren van ‘echte Ickes’.isbn 978-90-817083-1-9
  4. 4. What do science and art have in common?• Beauty?
  5. 5. What do scientist and artist have in common?• Curiosity?• Creativity?
  6. 6. Beauty Possible common ground of science and art However......what’s with that horsehead?
  7. 7. Space View
  8. 8. Orion
  9. 9. Horsehead Nebula
  10. 10. Solar eclipse on Earth
  11. 11. Aurora on Jupiter
  12. 12. Asteroid Eros
  13. 13. Asteroid Eros
  14. 14. Comet Hartley-2
  15. 15. What’s Up, Doc?
  16. 16. Resonance with what is familiar• Galton 1883• Koinophilia
  17. 17. average of 64 female heads
  18. 18. average of 32 male heads
  19. 19. average of 18 female heads
  20. 20. ©Monica Mendoza
  21. 21. Beauty Is Conservative• What is beautiful is familiar• ‘Koinophilia’• No good as guide for creation
  22. 22. average of a hundred young men
  23. 23. Why do we admire white sculptures?
  24. 24. Beauty in Science• Christiaan Huygens• Beauty with hindsight• Beauty (for me) is the shock of the new
  25. 25. Epicycles?
  26. 26. Huygens Equation
  27. 27. Centrifugal Force g = v2/R The first theoretical- physics equation in the history of our planet
  28. 28. Enjoy• Beauty does not advance science or art• Never mind, just enjoy it
  29. 29. Curiosity Possible common ground of science and art However... ...everybody is curiousSo why is not everyone a scientist or an artist?
  30. 30. Attentiveness• I see, I see...• ...what you see too, but...
  31. 31. Miracles Retrieved
  32. 32. Windowpanes?
  33. 33. Cause and Effect• Tous les événements sont produits les uns par les autres • Every event is caused by another
  34. 34. Cause and Effect• Dans les mêmes circonstances, les mêmes causes produisent les mêmes effets • Under the same circumstances, the same causes have the same effects• Voltaire, Dictionnaire Philosophique
  35. 35. Cause and Effect• Attentiveness in front of a window• The same causes do not always have the same effects• Therefore, there are causes without effect...• ...and effects without cause (Universe?)
  36. 36. Cause and Effect• Most people find this awful• An extreme case of koinophilia• The corresponding formula is breathtaking
  37. 37. < begin |
  38. 38. | end >
  39. 39. < begin | transition matrix | end >
  40. 40. Dirac Equation
  41. 41. Find Out Through Research• Time sequence of works of art• Criticism and conflict• Critical Spiral• Development = evolution• Progress!
  42. 42. Francisco Goya y Lucientes, 1746-1828
  43. 43. The Spanish Royal Family, 1800
  44. 44. Tres de Mayo (1808), 1814
  45. 45. Los CaprichosTuesday February 6th, 1799
  46. 46. Antonia de Zarate, 1811
  47. 47. J.M.W. Turner 1775-1851
  48. 48. Windsor, 1797
  49. 49. Caernarvon, 1800
  50. 50. Marly, 1831
  51. 51. Marly, 1831
  52. 52. Tobias & Angel, 1832
  53. 53. Music at Petworth, 1835
  54. 54. Boats, 1840
  55. 55. Sea, 1842
  56. 56. Deluge, 1842
  57. 57. Snowstorm, 1842
  58. 58. Research• Helping a new generation...• ...to discover what is not impossible
  59. 59. Research
  60. 60. Alien Art• A few random months with mouse and keyboard• Weather in the Universe• Natural phenomena in a parallel universe
  61. 61. J.M.W. Turner, Deluge, 1842
  62. 62. binary-El-Me
  63. 63. The Critical Spiral The method of our madness
  64. 64. New Observation technical skill patience invention attentiveness perseverancePrediction Remark knowledge knowledge theoretical skill invention perseverance logic Hypothesis
  65. 65. The Critical Spiral• No research without criticism• No research without failure• Failure is common• Allowing failure is not a weakness but the driving power of creation
  66. 66. Failure is the motor of creation
  67. 67. Creativity Possible common ground of science and art However......almost all work is re-creative
  68. 68. Beauty is conservative• Koinophilia• Active resistance against what is too different• Active resistance to possibilities
  69. 69. Attentiveness Revisited• I see, I see• Seeing through• Being attentive...• ...makes you see possibilities
  70. 70. Possibilities• Seeing possibilities• Removing impossibilities• Not ‘creativity’, but...• ...the art of the impossible
  71. 71. Science & Art• The impossible we readily do • That is our job• Miracles take a little longer • Some folks have all the luck
  72. 72. Who but an artist would have thought...• ...that this is possible?
  73. 73. J.M.W. Turner
  74. 74. Louise Bourgeois
  75. 75. Who but a scientist would have thought...• ...that this is possible?
  76. 76. Who would have thought...• ...that they have a common ground?
  77. 77. Criticism Essential part of science and artBut they are radically different in the way they confront criticism
  78. 78. Art Is Not Science Letter from Theo van Doesburg to Hanna Höch (21 May 1925) Künstlerisch habe ich mich damitbeschäftigt eine schematischer Darstellung für den neuen Raum zu schaffen. Habe jetzt den tesseractischen Raum als der einzige Universelle Raum für die Gestaltung (inklusif Film) anerkannt.
  79. 79. Art Is Not Science Letter from Theo van Doesburg to Hanna Höch (21 mei 1925) [...] Ich bin ganz sicher das eine mathematische und klare Kenntnisnotwendig ist, und das alle Versuchen hinsichtlich Film, Architektur, Proun undsow, wie interessant auch, auf esthetische Spekulation beruhen.
  80. 80. Tesseractic Space
  81. 81. Criticism• This is where they differ fundamentally• Science: the Universe is our critic• Art: 7 billion critics
  82. 82. Science & ArtParallel & Perpendicular
  83. 83. From Science to Art• Imagery• Which of these is a scientific product, and which one is art?
  84. 84. What do science/art and scientists/artists have in common?• Driven by attentiveness• Forward through research• Subject to criticism• Developing possibilities
  85. 85. Forward AttentivenessResearch & Criticism Possibilities
  86. 86. My Parallel Universe “You create natural phenomena, Vincent.” Peter Struycken
  87. 87. The Medium• To a chemist, it is ferriferrocyanide• To an artist, it is Prussian Blue
  88. 88. Pick and work the raw material• A kind of multidimensional structure• Inquiry into colour and form• Experimentation
  89. 89. Sculpture• On Earth, sculptures must resist gravity• In space, gravity makes sculptures
  90. 90. Gravitational sculpture
  91. 91. Dynamics ofContinuous Media
  92. 92. Criticism...
  93. 93. “This one has succeeded the wrong way, daddy.” Julia Icke
  94. 94. Research andattentiveness
  95. 95. Vincent Icke - asymring Mb
  96. 96. Lernert & Sander - Revenge - http://vimeo.com/3950779
  97. 97. The medium“Now I’m married to an artist, but still the house doesn’t smell of turpentine.” Charlotte Lemmens
  98. 98. The End www.alien-art.nlwww.strw.leidenuniv.nl/~icke

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