Versions of Atlas Making
Catalogue of the Art&Science annual exhibition.
Scientific objectivity has a history. This history can be nicely traced by studying scientific atlases. An atlas is the result of a collective empiricism of a scientific discipline and can be described as a collection of images. These images play an important role in calibrating the eye of the members and academic offspring, of that discipline. The aim of this calibration is to provide some objective detail of the world and to organise scientific images for many uses. A newly founded discipline may be accompanied with an atlas and vice versa. Embedded in the atlas image we find traces of consequential choices about knowledge, (scientific) persona and collective sight. Objectivity as such undergoes subtle changes that shape our view of the world around us (Daston et al. 2007).
However, we also meet the format of an atlas in artistic contexts. There, an atlas does not necessarily detach objects according to pre-established categories, rigorous definitions, or ideal hierarchies: it becomes an operating space, a production surface of the artwork itself. We learn that atlas making ‘is to reconfigure space, to redistribute it, in short, to redirect it: to dismantle it where we thought it was continuous; to reunite it where we thought there were boundaries’ (Didi-Huberman 2011).
What happens when the creation of a scientific atlas is (re)enacted at the margins of a discipline where it meets the (in)consequential choices of artistic research? The project work of the Art & Science master’s course was to investigate this question during winter and summer semester 2014/2015. The assignment included the research of elected disciplines and sub-disciplines, and their respective atlas tradition; collecting up-to-date examples of atlases in the sciences and the arts; conducting field-work / focus groups with young academics on controversial academic or political issues regarding the field; visualising/representing selected or manufactured phenomena and arranging them into the format of an atlas. This atlas should provide a basis for the collective and empirical knowledge transfer of a newly invented discipline. The atlas format is not restricted to printed and bound organisation of image and texts but may take into account the use of other media. The works of the students, the various atlas versions, will be publicly displayed and discussed at the Angewandte Innovation Laboratory.
Margit Busch, Benedict Endler, Christian Fries, Ruben Gutzat, Matilde Igual Capdevila, Kilian Jörg, Adrijan Karavdic, Stefanie Koemeda, Mato Lagator, Ivana Miloš, Christoph Perl, Nemanja Popadic, Michaela Putz, Marwa Sarah, Denise Schellmann, Maria Trabulo, Chin Tsao
Scientific support by
Franz Kainberger (University Clinic for Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Medical University Vienna)
Chris Walzer (Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna)
An exhibition of the Art & Science master’s programme, University of Applied Arts Vienna, in cooperation with Angewandte Innovation Laboratory.