How the tools of STS can be used to understand art and science and the practices of these knowledge-making communities.
In Art, Science, and the Politics of Knowledge, Hannah Star Rogers suggests that art and science are not as different from each other as we might assume. She shows how the tools of science and technology studies (STS) can be applied to artistic practice, offering new ways of thinking about people and objects that have largely fallen outside the scope of STS research. Arguing that the categories of art and science are labels with specific powers to order social worlds—and that art and science are best understood as networks that produce knowledge—Rogers shows, through a series of cases, the similarities and overlapping practices of these knowledge communities.
The cases, which range from nineteenth-century artisans to contemporary bioartists, illustrate how art can provide the basis for a new subdiscipline called art, science, and technology studies (ASTS), offering hybrid tools for investigating art–science collaborations. Rogers's subjects include the work of father and son glassblowers, the Blaschkas, whose glass models, produced in the nineteenth century for use in biological classification, are now displayed as works of art; the physics photographs of documentary photographer Berenice Abbott; and a bioart lab that produces work functioning as both artwork and scientific output. Finally, Rogers, an STS scholar and contemporary art–science curator, draws on her own work to consider the concept of curation as a form of critical analysis.
“From Blaschka to bioart, Rogers provides original and fascinating insight into the commonalities, intersections, and power dynamics between art and science, demonstrating the ways that STS can probe the communities and methods of both.”
Pamela Smith, Seth Low Professor of History, Columbia University; author of The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution
“Hannah Star Rogers shines light on the intersection of art and science in a real-world context. With a curator's eye versed in science and technology studies, she opens with a fresh, site- and display-specific inquiry into Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka's astonishing glass models. Berenice Abbott is a key transitional figure, as Rogers moves forward to contemporary installations, film, and performance. A fine new inquiry into the now vibrant art-science world."
Peter Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor and Director, Black Hole Initiative, Harvard University
“Rogers artfully troubles categories of art/science and lines drawn between artists/scientists. Her ASTS project encourages us to take heed of varied and intricate knowledge-making practices in our own efforts to explore new ways of world-making.”
Deboleena Roy, Professor of Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Emory University; author of Molecular Feminisms
“Hannah Rogers captures, with insight and hindsight, the emerging areas of art-science collaboration and practices. With a strong documentation of the bio-arts, Art, Science, and the Politics of Knowledge also brings foresight to the post-pandemic world and lays a foundation for future art and STS practices. Sciences and technologies cannot win future wars alone, but will require investments in art-science and other mechanisms for cultural change.”
Roger F. Malina, Executive Editor, Leonardo/ISAST Publications (MIT Press); Director of the ArtSciLab, University of Texas at Dallas
Funding provided by: Urbanowski