|Location:||Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart TAS (Australia)|
|Abstract:||The project investigated the pig's rubbing behaviour in an experiment with two pigs, using a french polished panel as a measuring device. As part of an Honours Year Research Program at the Tasmanian School of Art in Hobart, the project also focussed on different paradigms in scientific and artistic research/knowledge.
|Figure:||French polished panel|
or: translation of scientific projects into works of art
PIGVISION's project The HogRub investigated the pig's rubbing behaviour. This frequent animal behaviour was studied in an experiment with two pigs, using a french polished panel as a measuring device. As part of an Honours Year Research Program at the Tasmanian School of Art in Hobart, the project also focussed on different paradigms in scientific and artistic research/knowledge.
Interview ... Interview ... Interview
With the Italian art magazine Foro d'Arte
By clicking the icons you can make a journey through photographs and comments explaining the experiment. Sorry, the jpeg images are about 100kB each, but feel free to drop in occasionally, and continue the journey at your pace!
Il suo ultimo progetto sembra puntare alla differenziazione tra la ricerca artistica e quella scientifica se non mi sbaglio?
That's right. The role of the artist in a scientific world is a personal riddle. On the one hand, I don't like to bridle my creativity with conventions. On the other hand, I perfectly know that a contribution to our understanding of the world and the solving of problems has to have some down-to-earth tangibility.
Non pensa che nel campo scientifico lei possa essere molto creativo nella ricerca di soluzioni? Perché ha ugualmente scelto l'arte?
I do think that that scientists can be creative and use a fair bit of intuition and imagination. But in relation to scientific research, the scientist's creativity is limited to the question on how to get best through the eye of a needle. Fair enough, but as an artist I can take up that needle, like Don Quixote took up his lance, and hurl it into a different context. There will still be the one eye to creep through.
Dove ha spezzato il suo ago nell'ultima ricerca?
Well, rather than developing the best scientific way of measuring the pig's rubbing behaviour, I made the decision to use french polished panels in the experiment. With french polishing I can create beautiful objects, introduce an abundance of connotations and meet the challenge of learning this ancient craft.
Vernice all'alcool non è sicuramente il modo più facile di creare una superficie riflettente!
Indeed. French polishing is generally regarded as a furniture finish which is difficult to do, needing years of continual practice to achieve good results. The polishing process is slow and consists of applying many micro thin coats of polish - shellac dissolved in alcohol. The shellac is an organic substance derived from an insect flourishing in India. With modern, synthetic lacquers the knowledge of french polishing fades into oblivion. I polished three 1.80 x 0.90 m panels, one of which became the measuring device where the pigs rubbed against.
Cosi l'ago si è insinuata nel contesto tra vernice all'alcool e artigianato. In questo contesto che relazione vede rispetto al comportamento di grattarsi dei suini?
See, by introducing the context of french polishing I discovered two different paradigms of knowledge. The first one I call "scientific knowledge", and it can be described as the facts and figures about the pig's rubbing behaviour. I attempted to gain that knowledge by following scientific methods. Of course, I failed in a way, because my artistic endeavour led me away from the scientific path. Nevertheless, it could have been done the correct way: there is one eye of the needle. The second sort of knowledge can be defined as "artistic". It is related to the know-how of french polishing, of playing a musical instrument, acting, etc. Rather than comprising a set of objective facts, artistic knowledge can be seen as a grown and still growing relationship. Like any artistic skill, this kind of knowledge can venture into quite different, highly subjective directions.
Mi puo spiegare cosa intende con "relazione". Non è che gli scienziati hanno, pure loro, una relazione con il loro soggetto?
From a third person's point of view, everything and everybody is in a certain relationship with the rest of the world. Of course, but these are trivial arguments. I restrict my proposition to the viewpoint of the one who researches. Imagine yourself investigating a certain phenomenon. If you'd like to have your knowledge published in a scientific magazine you cannot not verify your results on the basis of simply showing your relationship with that phenomenon. You must work and argue along strict methodological rules to render your knowledge true and objective. Not so as an artist. The best you can do is to be aware of your relationship, develop your own methods, and polish, polish and polish... Relationships are not true or false in a logical sense. They are dynamic, mutual, ambiguous, contradictionary, passionate, problematic, etc.
Nella sua ricerca di dati e fatti sul comportamento dei suini che si sfregano o strofinano può almeno dimostrare che i suini dormivano dalle 20.00 circa alle 8.00. Però che beneficio trae da una simile conoscenza se quest'ultima è intesa come relazione?
I guess on a personal level, it is a sort of wisdom. I learnt that I can approach a problem like learning to play a musical instrument or a craft. I develop a dynamic relationship, which includes - but eventually encompasses much more than rational, discursive thinking. Inventiveness, chance and folly become as important as patience and discipline. I think one has to experience such a relationship to understand what I mean. On a more cultural level, this way of creating knowledge becomes a powerful subversion of rigid conventions both in art and science, and may take you to a new domain with new perspectives, where you can play with the old conventions if you wish and need to do so.
Acknowledgment: Many thanks to Ingrid and Graham Roberts!
The Facts and Figures of the Experiment
|Researchdata of 20-7-96 1:13:51 PM
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End of recording: 21-7-96 1:10:46 PM
|Researchdata of 21-7-96 1:20:05 PM
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End of recording: 22-7-96 12:36:04 PM