Michael Biggs


Prof Michael Biggs MA PhD FRSA FHEA is Professor of Aesthetics at the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. He is Visiting Research Professor at Presbyterian University Mackenzie, São Paulo and University of Lund, Sweden, and Member of the Board of the National Research School in Architecture, Sweden. He was Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Bergen in 1994, and has degrees in both Fine Art and Philosophy. Michael is a leading international figure in the field of arts research. His research has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council [UK], The British Council [UK], the University of Bergen [NO], the Swedish Research Council [SE], Riksbanken Jubileumsfond [SE], and the European Union [EU]. He is currently leader of the Research into Practice cluster at the University of Hertfordshire.


Exposition: The Entanglement of Arts and Sciences. On the Transaction Costs of Transdisciplinary Research Settings (01/01/2011) by Martin Tröndle
Michael Biggs 21/11/2011 at 23:03

I confess that I disagree with what seems to be the basic position of the authors on artistic research. I do not think that the originality of artistic research consists in creating a hybrid of either artistic science, or scientific art. In my view the strength of artistic research is in finding new methods and new insights that would not have existed without it. The authors seem to me to have adopted both hybrid positions (artistic science and scientific art), but I find that each lacks significance in terms of adding to the concept or production of artistic research. Adopting an alternative approach would resolve the authors’ claim that ‘Enduring this ambivalence can be a challenge for artists in research contexts.’


The main strength / interest in the article is the discussion of what constitutes trans-disciplinarity and how it can be achieved. The conclusion should be how trans-disciplinarity can be achieved, not that it should be a goal.


There is an undeveloped implication in the text that aesthetic representations can lead to experiences (rather than interpretations) of the data that might give [non-linear] insights into the original phenomena. What do sonic media offer that visual ones don’t, etc.? This would be a real claim for artistic research.


I find a fundamental confusion in the objectives of the project: whether what is produced is a representation of the data which has an indexical relationship to the data, or whether we have some kind of automated drawing activity which has a symbolic relationship to the viewer museum-experience.


If communities develop values and languages that separate them from one another, then the potential for cross science-art cooperation must be limited. I understand the authors’ position to be that trans-disciplinarity will be achieved through open-mindedness, whereas I think it will only be achieved by reconciling alternative worldviews (i.e. by the production of a third worldview which is neither science nor art).

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