Leonardo Education and Arts Forum

Arts and Sciences Cloud Curriculum Workshop

Paul Thomas & Stephanie Owens

Discussion group: Suzanne, Stephanie, Holly, Wenhua, Diane, Marsha

Artists are at a place in human history where they can have real direct impact with an expanded practice in an expanded field and they don’t have to be labeled in one quadrant or another. We need to do it for real and not for play (though some of the play does raise public consciousness). Artists can be conduits to public access and can influence policy.

What are the resources required to unite art and technology?

computers and support systems (academic and tech)
access to scientific and other laboratories of various kinds (bio, material engineering, computer/information science, electronics, applied physics, fabrication lab, materials library, prototyping, plant/ag lab, data visualizations and makerspaces, atmospheric studies, human ecology, design and enviro analysis, reproductive technology labs, medical visualizations, DIY)
library resources as a way to feed the curriculum (arts and sciences journals, project archives, art historical and contemporary monographs, books on history and technology studies)
display areas, outlets and venues (galleries, lobbies, distributed screens, public interventions, indoor site-specific works – a list of willing spaces, laundromats, banks, restaurants, gardens/nurseries, parks, subways, merchandise, posters, conferences, talks, public presentations, department stores and conference centers, renegade spaces/pop-up, churches, apartments)


To create a new transdisciplinary curriculum with multiple goals (create new opportunities for the education of the artist, concentration on innovation and emerging forms in relationship to traditional media in art, develop critical thinking* skills using tools from these disciplines)
To develop new material practices
To create a broader definition of what research is, and address questions in multiple ways, has to be iterative and evolutionary, project-based learning, speculative research
To have enough pedagogical curricular knowledge depth in at least three fields (art, science and society)

*Critical thinking: understand info technology as it relates to the visual arts and laboratory sciences, separate out the bullshit, ask good questions
Important to triangular the three fields


To converse intelligently in issues in the history and theory of art practice based on particular field of study (and have readings from each which students can pick and choose from)
To create novel works of art and expand upon existing genres
To engage in critical and speculative inquiry happening through materials and affect that is experiential and tangible
To develop critical inquiry into the ethical/moral questions regarding altering nature
To expand upon existing genres
To turn post-representational inquiry into modes of expression
To develop processes of protocol/policies that are EPA and ethical requirements
To find spaces where art occurs for the most impact and not for your career

Art and science venues:

Art catalyst, London
House of world culture, Berlin
Science gallery, Dublin
Banff Arts Center lab
Bioart lab in SVA
Self-assembly lab
ArtSci lab at UCLA

Mitchell Joacin (architect)
Terra Firma
DIY Biology lab in San Francisco
Artist in residence programs in labs
Goldsmiths degree in arts and sciences
Material Futures, London
Royal College of Art (speculative design and bio art)
Art and Genome, Netherlands
WAG society


More discussion of art and ethics
Many people still have the expectation of beauty as the outcome of art – beauty as a foil/Trojan horse
“Where is the art in bio art?” SVA exhibition (so much is repetitive, linguistic… all about our speculative future)
Only so much scientific knowledge that artists get, keep a critical distance to still control message or expression

Art is chemical, atomic, evolutionary, reproductive tech changes the notions of kinship, physical sciences, changes the whole ritual

Don’t restrict artists to gallery system or scientists to laboratories
Expansion of the idea of where these things intervene
Not bifurcated – not just the white cube or not and this curriculum would chip away at that

Are there unique features of a research university that lend themselves well to creating art?

STEM: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics

TRANSdisiplinary: That which is once between disciplines, across disciplines and [beyond] disciplines?

Roy Ascott (Ontario College of Art and Design)


Suzanne Anker: Bio Art (www.bioart.sva.edu)
Mark Quinn, Patricia Piccanini, Liora Yuklea, Darya Warner, Anne Clinton, Alessia Resta

David Familian

Barry Perlus: Collaboration with the Adler Center/Planetarium, undergrad presidential scholar’s award (8K for a year, 3 art students currently, 10 altogether in AAP), dual distinct degree with art and something else from another college, which has the potential for bringing disciplines together, working on graduate committees

Diane Ludin and Ricardo Dominguez

Paula Horrigan
How do we help people cling that their discipline has to offer as they move to different fields?
Evidence-based design

The workshop developed a series of card indexes that created a form of system thinking. The cards became a structure for developing course content via a series of interconnected plug ins.



Course outcomes workshop notes

The group attempted to put together key course outcomes from the discussion.

Problem solving, Problem defining
Art making with the new materialities

Understand methodologies of ideation, experimentation, brain storming
to comprehend new perceptions.

Artistic practice defining new problems

New connections with different fields and divergent languages to ask questions between areas

Develop respect, trust, compassion, to listen through deep collaboration

Narrative of certainty
Knowing quantitative and qualitative

Disparate skills

Understand key values, rules, confidence, uncertainty, failure, as an approach to the area of art and science.


Dealing with being uncomfortable failure.
Understand and build identity to define new