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Marcel Duchamp: Trois Stoppages Étalon, 1914

Lecture on “Oppositions: Art and Science”, by Dieter Mersch
Thursday, February 17, 2010, 7 pm
Location: Halle fuer Kunst Lueneburg eV, Reichenbachstr. 2, D-21335 Lueneburg

The sciences usually count as objective, obliged to the truth and rational, while art is regarded as subjective, playful and irrational. The fact that the sciences fall back on aesthetic and above all artistic practices – in contrast to the strict opposition between both – has often been noticed, among others, by the philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend and the semiotician Umberto Eco in the 1970s. On the other hand, as early as in the 1950s the American art scholar Kenneth Clark already undermined the pair of opposites, art and science, by discerning different yet equal methods of gaining knowledge in both. Moreover, for the past two or three decades, many artists such as Eduardo Kac have started adapting scientific procedures like the experiment or research work, or have systematically reflected on visualisation practices. Since then, the seemingly natural antagonism of art and science has been subjected to a permanent, destabilising changing of places. The lecture examines a number of artistic ‘scientific’ experiments and seeks to newly gauge the relationship between the two.

Dieter Mersch, since 2004 professor of media theory and media sciences at the University of Potsdam,  studied mathematics and philosophy in Cologne, Bochum and Darmstadt. Publications  (selection): Was sich zeigt. Materialitaet, Praesenz, Ereignis, Munich 2002, Ereignis und Aura. Untersuchungen zur einer Aesthetik des Performativen, Frankfurt am Main 2002, Medientheorien zur Einfuehrung, Hamburg 2006, ed. Kunst und Wissenschaft, Munich 2007, ed. with M. Heßler: Logik des Bildlichen. Zur Kritik ikonischer Vernunft, Bielefeld 2009, Posthermeneutik, Berlin 2010.

Reposted from the translate mailing list.

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