It seems that a discussion around the idea that artists and scientists have much in common is sparking some interest. Thank you to those of you who have taken the trouble to send me a response.
For example, one reader suggests that both artists and scientists explore, experiment, and come to conclusions, and in this their work has a very similar trajectory. Another points out that there is a major difference in how these efforts are judged, as the artist’s work is successful when the artist is satisfied with it, whereas the scientist has only succeeded if their experiment yields the same results time after time. I suppose it is the difference between a subjective criterion of success and an objective one. What do the scientists think about this? Is it relevant to talk in terms of subjective and objective? Do scientists purposely strive to be objective, or is it a perspective that doesn’t really make any difference to how science is done? And is the situation more complicated for the archaeologist, who seems to have to straddle both positions by adding informed imagination to scientific data?
Carmen Mills, ‘The Archaeologist’s Dance’ 5’x4′, acrylic on canvas
Perhaps I ought to say at this point that my exhibition ‘The Archaeologist’s Dance’ is all about this idea, the juggling act that is the lot of the archaeologist. The exhibition is part of Coastival, a weekend festival happening in Scarborough 14th – 16th February. My work is being shown in St Martin-on-the-Hill church, on South Cliff in Scarborough, and consists of a set of large abstract paintings and a set of six framed drawings, accompanied by original music and choreography. The dance performances will take place at 12pm and 2pm on the Saturday, and 1.30pm and 2.30pm on the Sunday.
The idea is to have an event where people are prepared by the music and the dance to look at the paintings and drawings, and think about things ancient and prehistoric, perhaps even to have a sense of resonance with ancient people as they take in the whole show. The composer of the music, Torque, and the choreographer, Julie Hatton, both had the same brief, to introduce ideas of ancient time and of the future into their work, along with a sense of stratigraphy and landscape. Tall order. They had other key words to work to as well, to coordinate with my work, and the criteria I used as I was making my paintings. An interesting exercise in collaboration.
Carmen Mills – ‘Sacred Journeys 2’, A2, graphite on paper
What will visitors to the exhibition think? Will this collaborative venture work? It is possible, I think, though like many experiments, there no doubt will be things that can be improved and tweaked for future events. Some of the work is a response to Star Carr, and some to the site at Streethouses, Loftus, where a Saxon Princess was found. The whole event, I suppose, focuses on the essential ingredient that is imagination. Intrigued? Come along to the exhibition and see for yourself. And if you are able to make it, do make sure to introduce yourself to me. I would be delighted to meet you!