People often ask what art in science actually means. It sounds interesting and intriguing to many, but it does not really seem like anything practical or useful. Should it?

Yes, it should. Moreover, yes, you DO practice some level of arts and science too. We all use our human potential for most of what we do in our daily lives. Both sides of the brain function in symbiosis to take in information from our surroundings. Our left hemisphere processes linguistic and mathematical information, right one the information through our different senses: auditory, visual, kinesthetic and spatial. Our current society emphasizes information that is processed in linguistic and mathematical form. We seem to regard it as more trustworthy, precise and perhaps even more “true”.

However, we make decisions very much based on our experiences and understanding as a whole human being. We see, hear, smell and feel as well as have emotions, experiences and beliefs that effect what we make of all the information we have in the end. Why do we seem to disregard information from our right hemisphere, and at least pretend as if we make rational and logic decisions? Could we learn to become more aware of utilizing all kinds of information, even IF we cannot turn it to figures or numbers, or make otherwise “sense” of it? What if we started to pay more attention to how different kinds of information effects our thinking in general?

Art and science have strongly affected each other throughout history. We visualize and build things like models, prototypes or miniatures to make our thoughts easier to communicate and understand. We try and rehearse, or simulate situations or processes to get a “feel” of how they work. We imagine visions and dreams for what could be and try to figure out how it could be done in practice.

Technology has provided us with tools that allow almost anybody with little or no technical skills to use visualization, moving images, sounds or imaginary spaces for creating, testing and producing almost anything. Ultimately in the end, art bears in its essence the eternal questions of why. It provides tools and ways to emphasize and accentuate what we think is important, and to provide symbolic information for meanings.

If science answers the question how, art answers the question why. If science seeks for truths, art provides different perspectives and interpretations. And that’s a really a perfect combination, isn’t it?

Written by Silja Suntola, Project Manager at South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences