• Charissa Terranova

In "Poetic Misprision In Art And Science," read about the necessity of the clinamen swerve

Read on about the necessity of the clinamen swerve in any creative act, especially when it comes art-science-design...

The relationship between art and biology is in flux, as is that of the humanities and natural sciences, and of art history and neuroscience. The evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr warned of facile couplings, advising any such attempts should be rooted in solid knowledge of evolutionary theory. Mayr said, “no-one should make sweeping claims concerning evolution in fields outside the biological world without first becoming acquainted with the well-seasoned concepts of organic evolution.”[1]More recently, anthropologist Tim Ingold argues, by contrast, for a unified concept of the biosocial. He says “all life…is social. Yet all life, too is biological,” claiming that the bifurcation between the two areas is the result of decades of blunt-force reductionism in the form of evolutionary theory understood solely in terms of natural selection and inheritance.[2]

Underscoring the flux, both quotes originate in texts by Ingold, that is, the Mayr quote comes from the anthropologist’s earlier writing. Yet both positions are true at once: Ingold is not contradicting himself but consistent and correct. Tread lightly when writing about evolutionary theory within the humanities: know your stuff! And, take heed: the separation of nature from nurture is but an ideological split. By no means a capricious thinker, Ingold has carefully hewn a path between the fields wherein no damage is done to either. That is, in their union, the “soft” (arts and humanities) is not simply made quantifiable and, vice versa, the “hard” (the sciences) is not bastardized. This is the fundamental challenge at stake in forging a union of art and biology...

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