Scientists are famous for believing in the proven and peer-accepted, the very ground that pioneering artists often subvert; they recognize correct and incorrect where artists see only true and false. And yet in some individuals, crossover learning provides a remarkable kind of catalyst to innovation that sparks the passion, curiosity, and freedom to pursue—and to realize—challenging ideas in culture, industry, society, and research. This book is an attempt to show how innovation in the “post-Google generation” is often catalyzed by those who cross a conventional line so firmly drawn between the arts and the sciences.
David Edwards describes how contemporary creators achieve breakthroughs in the arts and sciences by developing their ideas in an intermediate zone of human creativity where neither art nor science is easily defined. These creators may innovate in culture, as in the development of new forms of music composition (through use of chaos theory), or, perhaps, through pioneering scientific investigation in the basement of the Louvre. They may innovate in research institutions, society, or industry, too. Sometimes they experiment in multiple environments, carrying a single idea to social, industrial, and cultural fruition by learning to view traditional art-science barriers as a zone of creativity that Edwards calls artscience. Through analysis of original stories of artscience innovation in France, Germany, and the United States, he argues for the development of a new cultural and educational environment, particularly relevant to today’s need to innovate in increasingly complex ways, in which artists and scientists team up with cultural, industrial, social, and educational partners.