Science art is increasingly gaining popularity, and for a reason. Society has long realized that really new things are usually born precisely at the junction of different fields and professions. Interdisciplinary projects are a general current trend, and the fusion of art and science is one of its manifestations.
It would be strange to assume that a major discovery can be made at the intersection of physics and biology, but not at the intersection of science and art. Artists are capable of taking an unusual perspective even at ordinary things; and they can bring new ideas into science and also attract broad public attention to it. And this is exactly what humanity needs right now.
Science and technology are accelerating out of control, so it is very important that more young specialists join the industry. The conventional ways to attract young people are effective enough — projects such as Years of Science and Technology, investment in the popularization of science, and raising the prestige of the profession.
But there is an alternative approach that can be no less effective — and that approach has to do with science art. Works of art can arouse emotional delight strong enough to make one decide once and for all what they want to do — choose their future profession.
There are known cases of great discoveries made through the combination of science and art. The most striking example is definitely the discovery of antibiotics. The fact is that microbiologist Alexander Fleming found that certain fungi can stop the reproduction of bacteria while working on one of his germ paintings — producing images by growing microbes with different natural pigments.
This example definitely confirms the value of a multidisciplinary approach in the creation of new knowledge and the potential importance of even the most unusual combinations of specialties.
Science art is a special form of creativity. It can be used to shape public opinion on the most controversial issues. Science artists actually often create their projects precisely to highlight certain aspects of ethics and morality, as well as to express their personal stance on controversial issues that humanity encounters at any period.
One such initiative has been launched to raise awareness of the use of living beings as material for clothing and accessories. It focused on the blurred lines between living and non-living things in the mind of human consumers, and called for reflection on the ethical aspects of the overexploitation of animals. To do this, the artists “cultivated” miniature items of clothing from living cells.
Science art can be an important tool for shaping public opinion. Artists are able to find the key to our hearts much faster. Their works can evoke vivid impressions and emotions and make us, if not change our opinion overnight, but at least think deeply about it.
By Anna Kudryavtseva, PhD (Biology), Deputy Director for Research, Engelgardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMB RAS), Head of the Post-Genomic Research Lab, Head of the Genome resource sharing center at IMB RAS