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Fluid Borders:
The Aesthetic Evolution of Digital Sculpture(con't)
       by Christiane Paul
Crossing Disciplines

In the digital world, information can be used towards multiple ends which ultimately leads to the disintegration of boundaries between disciplines. Today, scientific representations of "actuality" are reflected in the communication processes and art practices of digital culture (and vice versa). Some "digital sculptures" either use source material from or work with concepts related to science, medicine, archaeology and the history of technology -- which ultimately broadens the context for art.

My work is sourced, intended, produced, critiqued, and hopefully understood in and for an interdisciplinary context apart from what normally passes for the history of art. - Dan Collins

The disciplines Robert Michael Smith lists as sources for his images range from archeology, anthropology, zoology, anatomy and scientific visualizations to cosmic/microcosmic photography and sci-fi CGI special effects, not to mention art-historical influences such as Dada, Surrealism and Abstraction. Christian Lavigne names poetry, mythology and science as direct influences on his work and points to the danger of art that addresses nothing but the history of art itself. In his opinion, too much of Western art is self-referential, relying on citations, which in turn is mirrored in the institutional art world.

In my opinion, a good artist should read "Scientific American," Molière, Shakespeare, Japanese poetry and lingerie catalogues. That list is non- exhaustive. An artist has to be open to the world, to the diversity of cultures and knowledge. - Christian Lavigne

For Derrick Woodham, experiencing the histories of the forms he uses -- in the various disciplines they are associated with -- is to a large extent the basis for his interest in the work he creates. Although he would not want to explicitly "quote" disciplines in order to assign specific meaning to his sculptures, it is most significant to him to saturate his work with some sense of the social significance of both forms and the means of their production.
The sculptures of Michael Rees can to some extent even be considered a reconfiguration and expansion of scientific disciplines. Rees often borrows imagery from medical anatomy for an exploration of what he calls "spiritual/psychological anatomy." Anatomical elements and organic forms are woven into complex sculptural structures, which raise questions about the scientific validation of a sensuality that transcends the known structure of the body.
Rees uses science and its imagery as a way of weaving systems -- analytical and intuitive. He feels that the pragmatic issues he addresses are science-oriented, but would better fit the domain of engineering than the realm of theoretical, "high science." Transposing a high science/low science dichotomy into the realm of art, he comes up with the equation "high science=high art," "engineering=popular art."

I already find myself treading carefully through a minefield of impending disaster in an attempt to bring context to that which, with certain deliberation, defies such constraint...

Mine is not an art of representation, interpretation or translation. It doesn't concern itself in any way with the re-cognitive functions of mind except perhaps to avoid them, but it is not abstract; it is, at least in the first instance, what it is. - Keith Brown

The body of knowledge we call art is, as Keith Brown points out,. inextricably interwoven with the fabric of the body of knowledge itself. Brown's work connects with a multitude of disciplines at various levels and he describes his art practice as flowing and permeating in a boundless fashion running over and through contexts in an uncontrollable non-linear and complex manner.

Michael Rees
The openness he seeks in and through art seems to lie in the very nature of art itself and, when possible, he pursues it in a positively disinterested way. For Brown, disinterest is an aspect that allows him to connect with or unwittingly stray into other disciplines of research such as pure science, philosophy and cosmology. As he puts it, the process of attributing meaning or understanding to that which has previously been outside of our experience is by necessity an inter-activity of discipline.

How is knowledge--in its fully rendered 3D (dynamic) form-- represented or constructed, arranged, accessed, and reproduced? What we are looking at is, again, an increasingly complex and enriched palette for the artist (among many other things.) But also, it places the artist in the center of an interdisciplinary conversation... not as a marginal agent peripheral to the dialog. - Dan Collins

It remains to be seen whether digital technologies and the free flow of information they are ultimately based upon will allow for the disintegration of the boundaries set by the traditional, compartmentalized models of our culture.
Robert Michael Smith

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