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Jonathon Keats, Artist, SF

Extraterrestrial Aesthetics, Divine Genetics, and Other Thought Experiments




October 30, 2006; 64 Minutes; Video

Is art a science? Is science an art? In contemporary artistic practice, the studio may be a genetics laboratory, while the theoretical physicist, working years ahead of any plausible experiment, often formulates reality according to mathematical aesthetics. Have these two disciplines lost their bearings in the widening wake of postmodernism? Are we seeing just another breed of mash-up? Or do art and science need one another if either is to remain meaningful in the 21st Century?

Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats will address these questions by describing the role of scientific research in his creative process. He will discuss his attempts to genetically engineer God in a petri dish and to facilitate the intergalactic exchange of art, as well as his efforts to customize the metric system and to apply string theory to real estate development. Thinking of his projects as 'thought experiments', which rigorously misapply practices borrowed from biology, chemistry, and physics (as well as law and economics), Keats strives to take up where natural philosophy left off -- and to enlist others in his interdisciplinary investigation.