INTERSECTION OF ART AND SCIENCE
The title Intersections of Art and Science was originally used by Liz Ashburn (Fine Art) and Robert King (Biology) in the case of some Australian meetings at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. The current international event has a more specific "flavour": Fifth Interdisciplinary Symmetry Congress and Exhibition. Indeed, the term "symmetry" has various meanings that can be linked to the "intersection" of art and science. The classical and modern meanings of symmetry are associated with both
- science: common measure, later mirror reflection, and other operations that leave an object invariant, and
- art: proportion, structural harmony, an aspect of beauty.
The congress and exhibition provides a forum for both sides, although we do not suggest a strict split that scholars should give lectures at the congress and artists should make an exhibition. Indeed, we encourage not only the inter-section, but also the cross-section: some scholars may cross to the exhibition and present the "beauty" of scientific fields, while artists may give lectures on the scholarly aspects of their art works. Some of the participants moved to the very intersection of art and science and they deal with both sides "symmetrically". Others remained at on side, but still this is not a total "asymmetry", because they present such ideas that may motivate the other side. These intersections or possible intersections may inspire new art works, new scholarly problems, and, last but not least, may help education. Some topics may give a more humanistic face to science education, while others may demonstrate the importance of exact methods in art and the humanities. We also have a tradition of East-West cooperation. Tohru Ogawa and Ryuji Takaki, the President and the Past-President of Katachi no kagaku kai (Society for Science on Form, Japan), kindly accepted our invitation and organized a series of lectures that will demonstrate the importance of katachi (form, shape), which is a possible functional equivalent of the Western term symmetry in Japan. Our current congress, the first ever in the Southern hemisphere, also has an interest in North-South cooperation.
Obviously, we do not limit ourselves for perfect symmetry, but we also consider its relationship with its "antithesis", asymmetry, and various concepts between the two extremes: dynamic symmetry, dissymmetry, fuzzy symmetry, antisymmetry, fractal-symmetry, etc. Earlier, we even discussed various (dis)symmetry measures, where each object has a "symmetry" between 1 (perfect symmetry) and 0 (total disorder).
Finally, a "strange secret": the main goal of the congress is neither the lectures, nor the exhibitions, but the intersections that usually happen in the "intermissions". There is never enough time for a complete question-and-answer session at a congress, the artists are not always available in the exhibition rooms, but there is an informal solution of these problems. Our congresses made a tradition that the participants remain together for the entire week, using the same lecture halls and the same dormitories. Yes, the dorms are not always comfortable, but we will have very many meetings by chance, from the cafeterias to the corridors. We believe that the broadly interdisciplinary approaches always need some informality.
Please enjoy symmetry, form (katachi), and in-form-ality.
Dénes Nagy and George Lugosi
Symmetry: Art and Science
(formerly Symmetry: Culture and Science)
is the journal of the International Society for the Interdisciplinary Study
of Symmetry (ISIS-Symmetry). The views expressed are those of individual
authors and not necessarily shared by the Society or the Editors.
Special Issue Editors:
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from the Society.
Cover layout: Gunter Schmitz