Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Science is Art is Science is Art is Science is Art is Science is Art is Science is Art is Science is Art is Science

by Erika Wilhite
I needed to be convinced. As an artist with a long history of resentment for math and a potudent of anything that wasn't art, literature or theatre, I needed to be convinced that art wasn't a separate point of view. Perhaps it was my education. We divide art class from the others. I am called "artsy" and sometimes with a patronizing connotation. I defend and protect my work because it is not always valued as the work of a doctor, research scientist or engineer. I admit, there might be a chip on my shoulder. Somewhere, at some point in my life, I learned there was a division, a boundary between art and science and I was on one side. I belonged on a team, per se.

But here I am working with the Scientific Method. WTF. The first day of lab, Fletch hands out a defintion of the Scientific Method and explains that we are using the lens of SM to understand the play Bombs, Babes and Bingo in the lab. Now, I knew he was bringing science into the lab. But I thought it would be more... metaphorical. I want to experiment, and I trust Fletch as an artist, so I gave over to his science schemes and stepped out of my comfort zone.

And besides, the word Science comes from the Latin, Scio- to know as thoroughly as possible. And I want THAT. That is why I do theatre. It helps me understand things on a deeper level. And once I started framing my story questions with scientific vocabulary, I began to recognize the similarities.
The Scientific Method:
another set of vocabulary for asking the same questions

1. Identify the problem or question? What's the major dramatic question of the play?
2. Review Literature or Gather Information? Dramaturgy!
3. Formulate a hypothesis. We enter into a story with an idea of where we are going.
4. Experiment. Try stuff out in rehearsal.
5. Collect data. Data from our rehearsal notes, opinions from our collaborative team.
6. Organize and Analyze data. What worked, what didn't?
7. Interpret Data. Through production meetings and rehearsals, we make sense of it together.
8. Communicate Results. Perform for live audiences!

And science sets itself up to fail, or rather, evolve. An answer is still an informed guess, and true scientists get excited about being wrong! The more you know about a thing, the less you know. If you don't know a thing for sure, then you can still ask the question. There is movement in asking, so as to avoid entropy.

And I am at peace with that now.

Check out a Viewpoint Exploration of what what we learned of consciousness and subconsciousness. Science and Art looks pretty cool together.

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