art and science get to know each other…

Posted on January 7, 2011
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Science and art meet - The New York Times takes us there

In the drawing, a nude man and woman stand on either side of a wall. Each wears a plastic breathing mask that covers the nose and mouth; the masks are connected to air hoses that pass through the wall. The hoses attach to pouches at each other’s underarms and crotches.

It is a device that allows people — and there is no polite way to put this — to sniff each other. Remotely.

Things can get weird when the worlds of science and design collide. A new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, “Design and the Elastic Mind,” contains more than 200 arresting and provocative objects and images that may evoke a “whoa” or an “ugh” or simply “huh?”

When art museums take on science, the results are often pretty but superficial, with blown-up images from under a microscope or through a telescope and artificial colors, said Peter L. Galison, a Harvard professor of the history of science and of physics. He said this “out-of-context aestheticization” was not just “kitschy,” but could also kill the depth and context that made science interesting.

“Design and the Elastic Mind,” Dr. Galison said approvingly, is different — playful, yet respectful of the science that informs each object on display. “It’s science in a new key,” he said.

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