the interview with Arnoud Noordegraaf about his project, which got honorary mention by CERN and how is his direct feeling on art Interdisciplinary. 2012
From 2011, CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) cooperate with Ars Electronica, found Prix Ars Electronica Collide@CERN prize. This was the first prize in digital arts offered by CERN, which encourage artists showing their wish to engage with the ideas and/or technology of particle physics or with CERN as a place of scientific collaboration, using them as springboards of the imagination which dare to go beyond the paradigm. The honorary mentions was given to Dutch artist Arnoud Noordegraaf and British writer Adrian Hornsby who were preparing an art project of “contemporary music theatre” related to the theory of quantum physics. their project and how is his direct feeling on art Interdisciplinary
Jing: Is this your first time to use the language from science to create Interdisciplinary art works?
Arnoud: Not really. It is the first time that I work with a project with exact scientific language. Before I have worked on two projects which were closed to real interdisciplinary. One project was just a sketch, which I did in conservatory. In scientific language, things coincided each other are equal. Coming back to this CERN project, we used a text in very literature way, without really change the text of scientific language.
Jing: How is your feeling when you use the scientific language?
Arnoud: The scientific language has very strong elements of poetries, because it has its own intrinsic logic and its own truth. And there are many elements difficult to understand if you don’t know the exact scientific language, which almost instantly turns into poetry because there are something you can grasp and also something you can’t really grasp. But since it has logic, you still accept it as a full language. I like this, because it gives me a certain degree of trust even though I don’t fully understand the text.
Jing: If we don’t discuss this question based on your CERN project, but talk about the general feeling when you facing the scientific language as a artist. Do you feel you are in different world, or you really get inspiration from science? Specifically speaking, you mentioned “true physics” in your article, but the “true physics” language is really different from art language.
Arnoud: That’s true. They both exist at sometime. The inspiration from scientific language is like what I just explained that it is form of poetry. Recently, I written a try out thing for opera in which half of the details is in Chinese. I made a text together with Adrian, my writer, and had it translated into Chinese with a specific way, which is written 4 characters in each line. So, the fact was what I want is the set of characters with the set of sound that I had to translate into my music. I cannot change the words. So, if you can speak Chinese, you can understand what’s the singer singing.
But I had to very exact how I do it: the melody of the language was slightly incorporated into the music. This was a big challenge for me. But this is also beautiful because it is the poetry that I know what’s it says and what’s it suppose to mean without understand very single characters. The scientific language is comparable: there are certain elements of it that I don’t understand, even I can translate all these words, but there is deeper understanding of it, which I don’t know because I didn’t study those scientific researches. So, that is what I like: there are certain elements of knowing and unknowing go together at the some time. And it is also difficult. Sometime the intrinsic logic of scientific language makes no room for aesthetic beauty.
Jing: I saw some works in Ars Electronica this year. There are many art works that are involved with new attractive technology and public are enthralled by the new experience. But some of these works, in my opinion, are quite in manufacture but poor on concept.
Arnoud: that is true. Some works’ quality are not so high. Many times, when people whom completely into the technology, they learn art on the side, which makes they poor artists but good technician. And artists are other way around that they learn little technology on the side: they are good artists but poor technician. So, it will be nice to combine them to get better works.
Jing: do you think in the future, the identity of artist will become multiple?
Arnoud: it will be nice if it won’t like that, because for many people, I think it will be too demanding to do both.
Jing: yes, sometime, there are not just both.
Arnoud: So, I think the social contact is more important now, which will be more logic. I think the lots of these successful artists are specializes in one thing that is concept in their head. And they do have the talent for inviting people into their art process.
Jing: In my opinion, there are two kinds of way artists using technique inside their works: one is using the technique to show their idea, while there are other artists use the technique to show technique. The later group is not really interesting in how to involved their works with scientific language. How is your opinion?
Arnoud: yes, it is true. Lots of so-called artists think shocking audiences is a quick and easy way.
Jing: Do you think the audiences need guide by curators and critics?
Arnoud: I think the only thing audiences’ need is curiosity, without any education and explanation. If they look something they don’t understand, then, of cause it will be nice to be given more information. For example, when you visit museum, you go for the art works first. If you really like it or hate it or something uncertain, you will watch the little sign on the wall for more information. The art works themselves should speak first. I don’t like that kind of art works that you need to read whole page of explanation before you can appreciate it.
Jing: But there are lots of are works go this theoretical way.many of them need special context from certain age.
Arnoud: Yes, this has happened in the past. But now we already pass that time, so, it is no excuse to do that anymore.
Jing: Do you think the audiences’ aesthetic tastes are also changed? There is a research called HASDD (Historical Attention Span Deficit Disorder), which means that because of the information explosion, we now cannot concentrate ourselves anymore on something that takes longer than an instant. So, the audiences nowadays are more tend to “quick” arts. Do you agree?
Arnoud: Yes, that could be. But I still think art is always a reflection of the society it comes from. So, if the whole society becomes more super quick or shallow, the arts will also become like this. The different is: as a artist, you should still focus on one thing, on your concept deeply, but the way to present you work can be more quicker and attractive. For example, there was a time when is very normal to have one or two hours film in a gallery, and everybody sit down and look it patiently, but people don’t have patient anymore. So, if a artist make a film now which exhibiting in gallery, maybe he will think about make a shorter piece and present in more attractive way.
Jing: So, you think artist should make a choice. But how do you think the position of curators and critics? I think they are confused nowadays on the new interdisciplinary art.
Arnoud: Yes, it is true. The curators and critics are confused because if you do things in Internet or online galleries, you don’t need museum anymore. These persons are become less important than before.
Jing: At the end of interview, can you talk about your opinion on Ars Electronica festival?
Arnoud: When Adrian my writer told me that he wanted to propose this chance, I was a little bit uncertain because I knew this festival is always experiment on technique a lot. I didn’t visit it myself yet. The information I knew is from books they published and from Internet. And I know they do lots of works, just like you said, maybe conceptually interesting, and technically very advanced, but as a complete work of art, they are not complete because the content is not deep enough, which is my feeling also. But I was surprised that they honorary mention our proposal, because the technology we use is not very special and not difficult.