As members of the KAIST community, we live and breathe science and its applications every hour of the day — and regularly through the night! Scientific practices are traditionally, and largely remain, highly regimented and organized; the answer to a math problem is not usually up for debate, and the results of an experiment are controlled for accuracy.
From a scientist’s perspective, art can appear to be a wild and unruly craft for talented dreamers — leagues away from the disciplined structure of a lab report — and something that requires imagination and skill in areas that they may feel they do not possess. But there’s the thing; skill and an imaginative outlook are indeed keys for success in science as well.
This was the focus of a recent series of events titled Artience, held in Daejeon and hosted by the British Council, which began with an exhibition at the Daejeon Artist House. Called Silent Signal, the displayed group of animated works was the result of collaborations between British artists and scientists to produce visual representations of scientific ideas such as the proliferation of infectious diseases and genome modeling.
A challenge event for students was held here at the Graduate School of Culture Technology. This 30-hour- long creation challenge tasked pairs of a scientist and an artist to produce a work around the theme of aging, which resulted in a huge variety of outcomes. The winning team, who devised a game, included our very own Ji Yun Kim, The KAIST Herald Head of Culture Division.
The culmination of the series was a public talk event held at the café Seven Factory Moment, an establishment on the 15th floor that provides views across Yuseong and Daejeon as a whole. The vista alone provided much inspiration, and served as an ideal backdrop to the discussion about “The Collision of Art and Science”. The guest speakers included professionals from British universities and art backgrounds, leading to a debate about the philosophy and intersection of the two pursuits both in history and in the rapidly globalizing modern world. The central theme, however, was constant: the idea that art and science are incompatible is a fallacy, and great things can spring from collaboration.
The British Council is a UK-based and funded organization that works in over 100 countries to promote cultural and educational awareness of the English language and the United Kingdom. It encourages worldwide collaborations in scientific, artistic, and many more areas of study, and has been fostering “friendly knowledge and understanding” between the UK and South Korea for over 40 years. This year, the British Council has launched the UK/Korea 2017– 18 Creative Futures program, which is a season of events, exhibitions, and performances featuring British professionals taking place across the country.
At KAIST, any reminders to think creatively and freely beyond being obsessed with GPAs can only be good. There is much to be said for contemplation in science — after all, Archimedes’ famous “Eureka” moment occurred during the relaxation of a bath. Perhaps this is something that will be further revealed in the work to come from the Meditation Research Center opening here next year. Indeed, these events could have received more publicity within KAIST, and many in the audience for the talk at Seven Factory commented that their friends would have been interested, and that they only heard about it incidentally on the grapevine.
The animated works displayed as part of the Artience program are available to view online at www. silentsignal.org.