Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Case for Common Ground

In light of recent discussions around the Arts Center of the kingmanship between the Arts and Sciences Emerita Miriam Davis Kashiwa wrote this perspective. Any feedback would be welcome.

A perceived kinship between the Arts and Sciences has been long discussed. Art stirs emotions; too, the Sciences delight at discovery. Practitioners in each discipline are creative puzzle-solvers reacting to the wonders and mysteries of life: one expressing ideas through such media as paint, dance and music etc.; the other expressing discovery of how life works through the microscope or in the laboratory.

Leonardo Da Vinci was one such artist-scientist who worked… on cadavers… to study the workings of the human body in order to paint and sculpt accurate depictions in his art.
He may be one of the earliest to see that Nature is Art perfected, that those who work in those realms work from a common root… Nature’s design already in place.

Both artist and scientist explore and investigate their fields.. They are curious about the world and its wonders. They study and transform their discipline with the new…. Artist may note the effect of light on the landscape - scientist may note how light enters the eye and registers a scene on the brain. Both may use the same subject only with a different focus.

A question thinkers may ask of this connection might be ‘how does the first impact the second?’ We understand how the improvements in paints and brushes, in sprung floors for dancers, discoveries in new materials for mutes to change sound in a musical instrument etc. satisfy the science presence. The art-to-science impact is not quite as obvious.. However in speaking with scientists, writers, and noticing my own reactions, people who experience impasse in the problem at hand agree that if they choose to use it, there is an ‘Art Fix’.

Scientist may face such a ‘block’ when preparing a formula or failing to match tissue or be experiencing other scientific questionings. That’s the moment when Art can ‘impact’ or benefit scientist. Experiencing Art forms can distract the mind to rest when one listens to music, sips an aromatic cup of tea, watches dancers , ponders a painting. The act of quiet ‘contemplation’ of beauty or of elements-in-balance is rewarded by a cleansing of the (thought) palate. The solution at the edge of the mind may then be loosed to drop into place. The brain responds. It happens time and again.

In both art and science, we witness these creative, puzzle-solving -peoples’ curiosity at mystery and wonder. We remember as well that to solve those puzzles both unlock the dilemma with the same key: contemplation. We watch as artist and scientist are motivated by the same stimulus and then ‘problem-solve’ using the same process. Through the performers of each realm we find that the arts and sciences do indeed share ‘common ground’… after all, they spring from Nature’s common root.

Miriam Kashiwa, Emerita
The Arts Guild of Old Forge, Inc.

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