Critical Paper, like a dissertation but smaller.

As part of the 3rd year in Interactive Media degree course at UWN we have to submit a 4000 to 5000 word critical paper that supports or is at least relevant to your final major project (FMP). This will be due at 4pm, Wednesday 26th January 2011.

In the second year as a warm up for this critical paper we were tasked with a literature review, mine was on the perceived difference between science and art, the full text is at http://www.smokeyjoe.co.uk/sciart.html if you would like to have a look at it. It concluded that Art & Science are not separate cultures and that they improve and extend each other where they overlap.

My idea for the crit paper is to question “beauty”. In maths, equations and theories have been described as having beauty, Bertrand Russell said “Mathematics possesses not only truth, but also supreme beauty”. Science too has a strange attraction (fractal joke there) to beauty; Paul Dirac , one of the founders/formalisers of Quantum mechanics said “It is more important to have beauty in one’s equations than to have them fit experiment” and he also at the age of 78 said that he was always searching for “pretty mathematics”. Conversely Art has turned it’s back on beauty, probably since Duchamp’s “Fountain” and certainly in contemporary art, the Sensation show and other art is more concerned in shock and awe than pretty and pleasing. (note to self: Front Row on radio 4 Friday at 7.15 doing a special on contemporary art scene)

Even as i write this idea I’m getting worried that beauty is so subjective that its gonna be a slippery fish to get a hold of.

“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives. ”
Albert Einstein

Another idea i am toying with is about the quality of line, ‘great’ artists have great lines but what about the line of code that creates stunning images or great art such as the very simple algorithm that creates fractals? Are the different types of lines of equal worth? Why is art that is created with electronics and computers treated as less ‘worthy’ than a brush stroke?

more questions to ponder, any ideas out there?

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