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Hybrid arts is a contemporary art movement in which artists work with frontier areas of science and emerging technologies. Artists work with fields such as biology, robotics, physical sciences, experimental interface technologies (such as speech, gesture, face recognition), artificial intelligence, and information visualization. They address the research in many ways such as undertaking new research agendas, visualizing results in new ways, or critiquing the social implications of the research. The worldwide community has developed new kinds of art festivals, information sources, organizations, and university programs to explore these new arts.
Overview/ history of the term
Many artists are responding to the central role scientific and technological research plays in contemporary culture. They are going beyond merely using technological tools and gadgets (e.g. computers) in their work to engage deeply with the processes of research. They are creating revolutionary art at the frontiers of scientific research. They see art as an independent zone of research that pursues areas of science and research ignored by mainstream academic disciplines. They are developing technologies that would be rejected by the marketplace but are nonetheless culturally critical. They are pursuing inquiries that are seen as too controversial, too wacky, too improbable, too speculative for regular science and technology. Their theoretical orientation ranges from celebration of human curiosity to critique of science's arrogance. They enter into the processes in research at all stages: setting research agendas, development of research processes, visualization, interpretations of findings, and education of the public.
There has been some confusion over the last years of what to call this kind of art that crosses so many disciplines. It is descended from computer and internet art but reaches out to cover many new disciplines. Ars Electronica, which is considered one of leading world organizations concerned with experimental arts, decided three years ago[when?] to create a new category to encompass these kinds of arts. Every year they host an international competition for artists working in these experimental fields. They decided to use the name 'Hybrid Arts'. The worldwide community of artists, theorists, and journalists interested in this art are increasingly using this term.
Many new support systems have evolved to nurture, show, and interpret this kind of art. New educational programs have been developed. Books have been written.
Sample of the research fields addressed in hybrid arts
- Genetics, Bioengineering, stem cells, proteomics
- Art and Biology of Living Systems: microorganisms, plants, animals, ecology
- Human Biology: the body, bionics, body manipulation, brain & body processes, body imaging, and medicine
- Physical Sciences: particle physics, atomic energy, geology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, space science, nanotechnology, materials science
- Kinetics, Electronics, Robotics: physical computing, ubiquitous computing, mixed reality
- Alternative Interfaces: motion, gesture, touch, facial expression, speech, wearable computing, 3d sound, and VR
- Code: algorithms, software art, genetic art, Alife, artificial intelligence
- Information Systems: databases, surveillance, RFID/barcodes, synthetic cinema, information visualization
- Telecommunications: telephone, radio, telepresence, web art, mobiles, locative media
Various organizations exist to promote, disseminate, and interpret new art activities. The Leonardo journal published by MIT Press has a 40-year history of "promoting and documenting work at the intersection of the arts, sciences, and technology, and... encouraging and stimulating collaboration between artists, scientists, and technologists."[This quote needs a citation] Other organizations offer public events and facilitate the process of artists collaborating with researchers. For example, The Arts Catalyst in the UK seeks to "extend the practice of artists engaging with scientific processes, facilities and technologies in order to reveal and illuminate the social, political and cultural contexts that brought them into being"[This quote needs a citation] through public symposia, exhibitions, and commissions. SymbioticA in Australia is an "artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning and critique of life sciences."[This quote needs a citation] It "provides an opportunity for researchers to pursue curiosity-based explorations free of the demands and constraints associated with the current culture of scientific research." The arts lab is sponsored by the medicine department of a university.[which?] Other examples include the Art and Genomics Centre (NL), the LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial (ES) and Artists in Labs (CH) program.
New forms of educational programs are being established at universities around the world. Students are expected to master topics in art, media, and research disciplines. For example, the University of Washington’s DXArts program offers a "creative research convergence zone for intrepid artists and scholars"[This quote needs a citation] who seek to reach out beyond the arts. The Conceptual/Information Arts (CIA) is the "experimental program within the Art Department at San Francisco State University dedicated to preparing artists and media experimentors to work at the cutting edge of science and technology".[This quote needs a citation] Courses cover topics such as art & biology, robotics, locative media, and physical computing.
- Kac, Eduardo (2007). Signs of life: bio art and beyond. The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-51321-0. OCLC 900819026.
- Blais, Joline; Ippolito, Jon (2006). At the edge of art. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-23822-7. OCLC 300521698.
- Mitchell, Robert (2010). Bioart and the vitality of media. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-99877-0. OCLC 760213183.
- Paul, Christiane (2003). Digital art. New York. ISBN 0-500-20367-9. OCLC 51667998.
- Daubner, Ernestine; Poissant, Louise, eds. (2005). Art et biotechnologies. Sainte-Foy, Que.: Presses de l'Université du Québec. ISBN 2-7605-1328-9. OCLC 236375499.
- Popper, Frank (2007). From technological to virtual art. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-16230-2. OCLC 57142521.
- Scott, Jill, ed. (2006). Artists-in-Labs Processes of Inquiry. ISBN 978-3-211-27957-1. OCLC 1157569144.
- Reichle, Ingeborg (2009). Art in the age of technoscience : genetic engineering, robotics, and artificial life in contemporary art. Wien: Springer. ISBN 978-3-211-78160-9. OCLC 233550129.
- Ascott, Roy; Shanken, Edward A. (2003). Telematic embrace : visionary theories of art, technology, and consciousness. Berkeley. ISBN 0-520-21803-5. OCLC 50670030.
- Sommerer, Christa; Mignonneau, Laurent, eds. (1998). Art@science. Wien: Springer. ISBN 3-211-82953-9. OCLC 37663397.
- Wildevuur, Sabine (2009). Invisible visible : could science learn from the arts?. Houten: Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde. ISBN 978-90-313-5101-5. OCLC 450034770.
- Wilson, Stephen (2010). Art + science. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-2-87811-345-7. OCLC 690802596.
- Wilson, Stephen (2002). Information arts : intersections of art, science, and technology. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-28633-6. OCLC 52085740.