Understanding Third Space: Evaluating Art-Science Collaboration


Session Title:

  • Subversion Conceptions

Presentation Title:

  • Understanding Third Space: Evaluating Art-Science Collaboration



  • (Long paper)

    Keywords: Art-Science, evaluation, collaboration, third space, third culture, expertise, aesthetics, curating.

    CP Snow’s mid-century idea that a “third culture” might come into being to connect arts and science is perhaps most publically realised today through art-science – a heterogeneous field of creative research and production, characterised by the collaboration of artists and scientists and by research combining scientific and aesthetic investigation. This paper reports on the development of a new method for investigating the value of third culture collaboration for both the expert collaborators involved (artists and scientists) and the audiences who engage with the work. The visual matrix is a recently developed psychosocial method for evaluating aesthetic experience, which has been used in various sociallyengaged and site-specific art contexts. In 2014 it was experimentally applied to two art-science exhibitions staged in the UNSW Galleries, Sydney: Amnesia Lab and Body Image. This paper discusses the unique potential of this method to capture the shared, complex, emergent and transformative aspects of the experience of these exhibitions. In particular it highlights the ability of the method to capture the emergence of a “third space” at the intersection of art and science in the public domain – a site of trans disciplinary engagement, enquiry and knowledge production that plays a vital role in the contemporary research landscape.

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