Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: confrontation between art and technology
Ianni, Lawrence A.
[Editorial comment: science and art as forms of communication: an inquiry into the place of art in a technologically-oriented society], pp. -175 PDF (13.2 MB)
so substantially true must it be that the essential validity would remain intact even if details were clarified and corrected. Where art fails at this, it loses its impact. Recently it was reported that, on viewing a production of his play The Chairs, Eugene lonesco vigorously criticized the director for making a comedy of his tragedy. The director responded that he need only come on successive nights to see exactly the opposite audience reaction, where the comedy would be turned back into a tragedy. I submit that the unreliability that such a work has in communicating so that the reaction of the audiences runs to such diametrically opposite extremes reveals a failure in communication on the part of the work. Durable art can not speak exactly and can not speak exactly the same thing to any two people, but it must speak in a way that the communication has reliable similarity for the vast majority of its recipients. Any work that does not achieve this reliability in communication has limited value, no matter how interesting or momentarily fascinating it may prove to be. Art and science, therefore, do not talk about different things nor do they appeal 1. W. Ehrenberg, "Maxwell's Demon," Scientific American Vol. 217, No. 5. (November, 1967) pp. 103-110. This is a most helpful article because it gives Maxwell's own text as well as a treatment of the subsequent considerations of the problems by other physicists. 2. Jagiit Singh, Great Ideas in Information Theory, Language, and Cybernetics (New York: Dover, 1966), P. 77. to different facets of man's nature. They talk to him in different ways about the same things. Each of the ways has its own strengths. For this reason, neither is inherently inferior or superior to the other. Once we stop dichotomizing the areas of concern of art and science, the compartmentalizing of modern society into two irreconcilable camps happily disappears, and man stands before us once again more fully prepared to cope with the exigencies of existence because he can bring both art and science to bear on the problems of being. We can help our thinking about the parts that art and science play in man's life by not thinking of them as two tools for man to use but rather as parts of the same tool. Art and science together are man's third hand. Just as the proficiency of his other two hands was immeasurably increased by the development of the thumb to work opposite to and in accord with the fingers, similarly art is the thumb and science the fingers of man's third hand, which he can use to proceed along the next segment of his great journey in the way that the use of his other two hands has brought him to this point. 3. Robert Frost, Selected Poems of Robert Frost (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963), pp. 163-166. 4. Clement V. Durell, Readable Relativity (New York: Harper and Bros.), p. 134. 5. John von Neumann, The Computer and the Brain, (New Haven: Yale, 1963), pp. 77-79. 175