Art@FSMLs update to OBFS

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Slide 1

They are supported ideas, so give them a chance!

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Title of my talk gets to the kernel of the issue. Here’s my premise: Perception is not static. Our brain continuously compares the information that comes in through the senses with what it expects on the basis of what we already know about the world. The final result of this comparison process is what we eventually experience as reality.

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Therefore, adding the perspective of artists to that of scientists at field research sites offers the possibility of actually seeing new things, and offering new perspectives on old problems. But to do that, the artist has to be brought in at the beginning. How many of you saw that coming: a mural on the water? [Artist, Ray Bartkus. Marijampolė, Lithuania]

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Great enthusiasm for the idea. Group includes members of OBFS, NAML, GNOMO and LTER network.

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We’ve had a productive year! Here is an update… Relationships: Art McKee up to his usual tricks! Blog updated regularly. It is our primary communication tool, providing a clearinghouse, networking, and communication of case studies, examples of art/science programs and projects, potential partners and opportunities, conference & workshop reports, justifications and philosophy, etc. Persistence of info is a big problem in the arts world, and ephemera of efforts can be hard to find. Survey results used by Fred Swanson for several presentations in South America and at ESA, an Ecosphere paper, as well as two NSF proposals (detailed below). Also Leslie Ryan’s Doctoral work at OSU. So, if you were thinking, “Argh, what a waste of time!”…you were mistaken this time!

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Outreach & Illustration: these fall under broader impacts, and are very important.

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Delta Marsh Field Station ought to be a warning to all of us about the need to expand our pool of stakeholders.

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The example of DMFS is illuminating. A lot like many of us: hitting it out of the park on science metrics.

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And yet, it no longer exists.

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If science metrics can’t save us, what can? More friends in new places can’t hurt. Most of us are associated with a university and our mission statement actually calls for this: “Public Service”.

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More incentive, in case you missed the memo. After patting us on the back... It’s a tricky challenge: by definition, science can’t be emotional. Follow-up pubs specifically ID art as a good way to bridge that gap—creating emotion is what art does.

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“…the arts can make important contributions to the teaching and learning process in non-arts subjects—often referred to as arts integration.” -- Mariale Hardiman, Vice Dean, Academic Affairs, Johns Hopkins University 2014. The Effects of Arts Integration on Long‐Term Retention of Academic Content

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Working Group members Nancy Lowe, Judy Lemus to produce a creativity training program for scientists, which gets to the question: WHY ART AT FIELD RESEARCH SITES? HOW CAN THAT BE?

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Let’s talk about that difference between the artistic scientists and others. Chances are, you aren’t an artist, and when I asked you to draw your neighbor, it came out something like this…symbols, not what we might really see if we knew how to look. Like the alphabet that represents sounds, it doesn’t actually reproduce them. Out of context, these symbols mean nothing: red banana, seed, crescent moon; polar bear; spider, or UFO mechanic. Those of us who are not artists impose our symbolic vision on reality, limiting our ability to actually see what’s out there and find real patterns.

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Artists are trained to not do that. It’s not magic that you are either born with or not.

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Images. MC Escher tesselation patterns > 3D DNA folding; Jacquard loom > first programmable device and made the first digital image; Lace-making > surgical sutures; Pointilist dots > TV screens; Origami > cardiac stents; “Interstellar” CGI tools > now studying cosmology

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Researchers recently discovered mathematically-correct depictions of turbulent forms in this artwork that weren’t described scientifically until many years later. Theoretician Ed Belbruno of Princeton uses painting to capture images of concepts he hasn’t described mathematically yet; his paintings led him to breakthroughs like a new way to use gravity to power spacecraft, a controversial proposal at the time that nearly killed his career, and which is now the standard method. What you see depends on what you bring to the party.

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Lots of evidence in support of the idea that perception is plastic and determined by experience. Demonstration: rate how happy the following image makes you feel.

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Show for a few seconds, then switch groups with next image

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Everybody: Male or female?

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FSMLs are a natural place for true art/science synthesis in the service of basic discovery, since we have always been great at “creative abrasion”: throwing scientists together at the dinner table and bunkhouse to get to serendipitous discovery and interdisciplinary collaboration.

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We can’t do it alone. We need to reach out! A subgroup of Art@FSMLs Working Group held a Reno meeting between institutions, funders, educators, artists, humanists, and scientist to brainstorm how to take art/science collaborations to the next level--using art for creative problem solving rather than just as illustration and outreach--with FSMLs as the catalyst. Hosted by the Center for Art + Environment - Nevada Museum of Art, with field station participation from OBFS, NAML,GNOMO, LTER and others. Main product: #ArtSciConverge Dinner picture after the official meeting: everyone is so excited, they’re waving their hands and talking at the same time!

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RCN to create a mechanism to accomplish integration, but we’re moving forward with or without the grant.

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Chair of Working Group.

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PRESENTATION TOPICS Update on Art@FSMLs Working Group activities since Wood’s Hole. Along the way… Why is art not just a good idea at FSMLs, but critically important to our missions? How can art complement FSML science? Examples of FSML art programs: Cedar Point, Mountain Lake, LUMCON Warning! Weird ideas ahead! (draw a quick picture of your neighbor, please!)

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ART/SCIENCE COLLABORATION AND THE PLIABILITY OF PERCEPTION

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Art@FSMLs Working Group formed over a lunch table discussion at the Wood’s Hole OBFS/NAML joint meeting SEPT, 2014

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ART@FSMLs update: Sept. 2015 OSU Doctoral research Multiple conference presentations (2 in S. America, ESA, Reno) Swanson, FJ. 2015. Confluence of arts, humanities, and science at sites of long-term ecological inquiry. Ecosphere And, 2 NSF grant proposals (detailed later) Fruitful relationships begun (more about that later); Blog created: fsml-art.blogspot.com; Survey completed, and used in… Lots more Art@FSMLs activities, too! But first…

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WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “ART/SCIENCE COLLABORATION”? This is what many (most?) people think of:

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Art Puts Feeling Into Learning* Stirs interest and motivation Encourages further learning Allows learning to be a social and non-evaluative experience Expands the pool of interested stakeholders! Broader Impacts of Art/Science Collaboration Are very important! Do you like this thing…? What makes it interesting? * From Shimamura, 2015.

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CASE STUDY: DELTA MARSH FIELD STATION Winnipeg, Ontario CANADA 40+ year history; Strong portfolio of research; Important node in a continent-scale migratory bird observatory; Healthy tradition of university education and scientific training. And yet…

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CASE STUDY: DELTA MARSH FIELD STATION Winnipeg, Ontario CANADA …DMFS was bulldozed to the ground in 2010.

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CASE STUDY: DELTA MARSH FIELD STATION Winnipeg, Ontario CANADA If science metrics aren’t enough to save us, what is? UNIVERSITY MISSION RESEARCH EDUCATION PUBLIC SERVICE

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National Academy of Sciences NRC publication: “Enhancing the Value and Sustainability of Field Stations and Marine Laboratories in the 21st Century”. Schubel, et al. 2014 Memo: Science must get RELEVANT, and BE better at engaging society!

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But, how do we actually use art to do that? “Broader Impacts” arts activities, like illustration, outreach, and kids drawing pictures in the woods are valid, useful and worthy, but alone are not enough. Art programs at FSMLs present another REALLY BIG opportunity, which is far less obvious…

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WHY ART/SCIENCE COLLABORATION CAN BE BIGGER THAN OUTREACH NSF collaboration grant initiated between working group members to build an artistic creativity training program for young scientists. WHY WHY ? Doing art stimulates scientific creativity.

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SYMBOLIC VISION “…Cognitive science suggests that perception is a pliable process that constructs itself, not just from the raw material of whatever reality lies beyond the senses, but from the experience and expectations of the perceiver. Artists and scientists working side by side at field research sites actually see differently. These differences can enrich and complement each other to make deeper fundamental discoveries…the most transformative science is conducted by scientists that are also involved in artistic practices” -- Leigh, et al, 2015. The Symbolic Default…

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SYMBOL VS PATTERN Artistic techniques--like drawing, music, poetry, etc.--are learned skills that train us to perceive and manipulate real patterns, rather than imposing symbols… …It’s not magic you are born with.

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ARTISTIC PATTERN-SEEKING INFORMS SCIENCE… Artists can discover and create raw material for science, even when the scientist is not the artist: “Metaphors help stimulate the investigative imagination of good scientists.” - Anthony Trewavas

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As it turns out, seeing clearly (pattern-detection) is exactly what Vincent Van Gogh was doing in “Starry Night”…

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Lots of research in support: BUT YOU WANT PROOF YOU CAN FEEL, DON’T YOU? LEFT SIDE OF ROOM, CLOSE YOUR EYES!

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Study Knowledge Determines What You “See”!

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SO, IF DIFFERENT PEOPLE JUST SEE DIFFERENTLY… …WE NEED TO BRING ARTISTS INTO THE MIX AT THE BEGINNING, TO HELP DEFINE THE QUESTIONS AND TACKLE THE PROBLEMS. NOT AT THE END, TO TRY TO GET THEM TO FORCE THROUGH IDEAS THEY HAVE NO EMOTIONAL CONNECTION TO, TO MEMBERS OF SOCIETY THAT SIMPLY DO NOT CARE (& NEVER WILL) ABOUT THE SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE.

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NOW THAT WE AGREE… “BUT, HOW DO WE MAKE IT HAPPEN? WE’RE ALL TOO BUSY, ALREADY. AND WE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!” …that art makes a critical discovery and broader impacts partner to science at field research sites, you’re thinking:

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June 19-21, 2015: NSF-funded Planning Meeting in Reno, NV “Perspectives: Examining Complex Ecological Dynamics through Arts, Humanities and Science Integration “ Participants: NEA, Grantmakers in the Arts, Nevada Museum of Art, Carnegie Museums, Aquarium of the Pacific, cognitive scientists, artist-scientists, environmental artists, FSMLs, LTERs, Experimental Forests, faculty, STEM to STEAM educators, archivists, SEAD network, Arts@CERN, philosophers, writers, etc. Products to date: #ArtSciConverge launched: goal is to link art and science communities at FSMLs for fundamental discovery (as well as outreach and education) An advisory council and a coordinated (and growing!) group of participants moving forward Listserv… https://lists.alaska.edu/mailman/listinfo/uaf-artsciconverge Join us! Social Media: Facebook, Twitter Online videos of presentations and side interviews Increased visibility of FSMLs within arts--and arts funding—communities. Misc. press and social media (use hashtag #ArtSciConverge) New projects and partnerships Archive of #ArtSciConverge art/science products at the Center for Art + Environment - Nevada Museum of Art RCN proposal… See blog post for links!

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NSF Research Coordination Network (RCN) proposal--submitted 8-4-15 “ArtSciConverge: Integrating the arts and humanities with long-term ecological research.“ Leigh, et al. Would fund a 5-year effort to connect the arts community with the science community using field stations as the catalyst*: “Our vision is that, within five years, it will be the norm and not the exception to include artists, humanists and social neurobiologists with ecologists on teams that are exploring and seeking to solve the complex social and environmental problems we face in the coming decades.” *The grant would be massively helpful, but we are moving forward, regardless.

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WHERE TO FROM HERE? Continue everything else, plus… Work with Clore Foundation (UK) to fund a Fellow to create a Strategic Plan for #ArtSciConverge, the umbrella that will provide support and continuity of effort; Work with Center for Art + Environment - Nevada Museum of Art to: Develop art/science project archiving tools and prescriptions, communication mechanisms; Target important and relevant artists for field station partnerships; Expand partnerships with art museums, aquaria, zoos, and other art research and outreach specialists; Work with Alliance of Artist Communities to explore more efficient ways to integrate scientists into arts programs, and artists into field stations; Insert early arts integration into other efforts, like GNOMO; Grantmakers in the Arts funding a study and hosting a meeting with arts funders in 2016; Increase networking between art programs within OBFS, NAML, GNOMO, LTER, Experimental Forests and Ranges (EFR), etc.; Increase visibility of efforts through new partnerships, publications, blog; Encourage and facilitate art/sci collaborations at field stations (demo program); Requested that the “Working Group” be upgraded to full OBFS/NAML Committee; Continue to develop our local FSML art/science programs; Other ideas? What do you want to do? How can we help?

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THANKS! Faerthen Felix, Art@FSMLs Working Group Chair ffelix@berkeley.edu fsml-art.blogspot.com https://lists.alaska.edu/mailman/listinfo/uaf-artsciconverge Now, here are some great examples of art programs currently happening at FSMLs…

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