Friday, February 3, 2017

Artscience experience and replenishing the spirit

The start of January had been difficult time of letting go of the old and embracing the new - letting go is what is hard. At the same time, I was expected to be traveling to Singapore for a conference, and later, to meet with family members I have not seen in years, neither of which were easy. Additionally, it was the month when I had to redefine my identity for the year - professional guidance books are great in that but the emotional and psychological change are effected more slowly. So many things were then up in the air, both in the professional and personal front, that there is a sense of being in a sort of stalemate. But at the end of the day, the worst brings about the good when you start paying attention to things you forget in all that bustle; that new attentiveness takes you down another road you have forgotten even existed. When you stop trying too hard and just take in every opportunity to relish the moments, the opportunity for new inspirations arise and nothing seems as hard as you have indoctrinated yourself into believing.

I started drawing as a way of releasing that blockage to my creative energy and well-being.  The inner burden of the mind and soul are pierced through with a non-obligation to the rational mind, and the intellect is regenerated. In fact, art and science was what got me to present my poster at the recent celebration for 90 years of Quantum Mechanics conference in Singapore. It did not win me a prize but it won for me, a blueprint to begin the pursuit of a project I had left behind

for some years in favor of my own mistaken belief that personal professional interests should trump take precedence over creative-intellectual dreams. It also allowed me to begin conversations with those who found the creative direction to be compelling, even if they might not understand everything that was on it. The result of this work could be seen at the post just immediately before this post.

In contemplating how far quantum physics have traveled since its early days, and the accomplishment that has been made, the physicists who were at the conference admitted to starting conditions that were far from promising, and the way forward remains as fuzzy as ever, with potential for friction even after years of  accolades, accomplishments, and seeming successes that accompany those who had been in the field. While some of the physicists are open to asking the tough questions of the constitution of nature, others would prefer to go with questions that could lead to a more definite way forward (even if it means skipping over ontological big questions), with future technological impetus. But one of the things I've learned is that, quantum physics was never developed with any operationalisation possibilities in mind - that it suddenly became the anthem of the scientific epistemology of the
twentieth and twenty-first century is an accidental quirk stemming from an amalgamation of historical/political contingencies, economic need, and curious exploration. Even as we see unprecedented new connections being forged, a new vocabulary to make the transdisciplinary possible is still in the process of being built.  Maybe it is not what we believe in or see as possible that matters, but rather, where the subject of our exploration can lead us to contemplate connections we might not even think would be possible. Not everyone has the same vision of this beast called quantum mechanics, but there is a place for everyone to see where they could fit into, even for the more quirkier ones.

But the conversations one have with the people met in serendipity produce the most insights and inspiration; by not adhering rigidly to a plan, one opens up avenues for making those meetings and conversations possible. You build new connections and find open possibilities that have not been contemplated without needing to form any expectations that a clear path ahead is now there. Regardless of whether these connections bring you toward your goal directly or not, that interference stemming from that interaction has already contributed to your intellectual growth and add to the toolbox for moving your vision ahead. You might not see any immediate change to your life, but that wheels for moving that change are already turning.

Creativity also comes from doing something outside the norm - breaking the boundaries of your comfort. I tried that literally by doing border-crossing on a whim (not entirely true, as I did a pseudo test run the day before) and doing activities on the other side that were both planned and unplanned. The last time I had done state-level border-crossing on an almost daily basis was back in the summer of 2010; it was memorable to this day.  In the act of crossing state line, I came in direct contact with further inspirations that did not precede from having experienced a life-changing moment, but from associating the phenomena of the experience with already present nascent ideas seguing in and out of consciousness without an anchor that merely needed an excuse (or tangible entity) to ground them. That is the experience of being an art-science/science-art practitioner.

To end this post, I leave a link to an interview with the artistic director of the Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) on the importance of arts, science, and technological interdisciplinarity.

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