14Negotiating Engineering and Art
While the scientific method seeks the abstract, essential 'laws' 'hidden' in the natural order, and expresses them in a generalized logical language, art is a sensorial communication, it is not the downloading of raw data. Art speaks to the body, artistic 'information' must be presented in a form amenable to the senses. Art is about sensuous engagement with matter, or at least with complex sensory experience, it is about learning through the process of physical realization, through the utilisation of kinesthetic and proprioceptive ways of knowing.
The effects of art practice 'going digital' include the ephemeralization of the art object and elimination of substantial dimensions of bodily involvement. The making of and the consuming of 'art' has traditionally been both kinesthetically broad-bandwidth and sinesthetically complex. The reductive method, combined with the limitations of an interface never designed for art production or consumption, causes the eradication of a great range of the intelligences which have been central to art. The mind/body split concept is a key component of the enlightenment world view and structures the way we think about ourselves and the world. Computer discourse is a direct descendant of that world view, made more extreme by the pragmatism of engineering. The reification of the mind/body split within computer systems and computer discourse has lent the idea new force.
But contemporary thinking in many fields is bringing many basic premises of computer science into question. A concerted effort is now necessary to de-naturalize the mind body split and to re-learn that subjectivity is not subject to reductive analysis. Subjecthood is anchored in the body. What we call 'the mind' permeates the body and is not located in any one organ. To believe otherwise is to deny the traditional intelligences of the arts.