By enlisting scientists to help her realize her art projects, Franceschini joins a growing number of artists who have interjected ‘scientist’ into art’s line-up of assistants and collaborators.

a. Even artists who are not members of a group may not work in isolation. For example, Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) ran a large studio to execute the numerous commissions entrusted to him. Another example is Andy Warhol whose ‘factory’ studio churned out artworks that the artist’s hand never touched. Mark Kostabi, who is often referred to as Warhol’s successor, named his studio ‘Kostabi World’ in 1988. That is where a team of assistants conceive of ideas for Kostabi works of art, create the paintings that carry his signature, and even title the paintings for him. This extreme allocations of responsibility was featured in a TV game show, “THE KOSTABI SHOW”, where art critics and celebrities competed for cash awards by proposing titles for Kostabi paintings (see www.thekostabishow.com).

Franceschini also allocated major responsibilities to others when she produced her DIY Hydrogen Kit. Compare her withdrawal from the art process to Rubens, Warhol, or Kostabi. What motivated this withdrawal? What necessitated it? Does it affect the message conveyed by the artwork

b. By enlisting scientists to help her realize her art projects, Franceschini joins a growing number of artists who have interjected ‘scientist’ into art’s line-up of assistants and collaborators. Projects undertaken by many eco artists rely on non-art professionals to supply the skills and information the artists lack. Examples include Mel Chin’s Revival Field, Fernando Garcia-Dory’s Bionic Sheep, and Jae Rhim Lee’s Infinity Mushroom. In 2011, Oron Catts (Tissue Culture & Art) and Terike Haapoja participated in “Field Notes – Cultivating Grounds,” a week-long field laboratory for theory and practice on art and science at the University of Helsinki.

Growing environmental concerns among eco artists is accompanied by an equal expansion of art/science programs, collaborations, discourse, and training. Some examples include:

Leonardo is a journal that features artists who use science and developing technologies in their work. Leonardo has published forty books on this subject through MIT Press.

D.C. Art Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER) is a monthly discussion forum on art and science projects in the national capital region. DASERs foster interdisciplinary networking.

Art and Science Collaborations, Inc. raises public awareness about artists using science and technology to explore new forms of creative expression and to foster collaboration between these fields.

ASCUS, Art Science Collaborative develops and supports an open platform that inspires artistic and scientific practice through transdisciplinary collaboration. Arts | Science Collaboration Grants are offered at the University of Chicago. They are supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories.

New Mexico Scientists/Artists Research Collaborations (NM-SARC) sponsors professional artist residencies in science laboratories, field settings and neutral zones. Artists have partnered with scientists in Los Alamos National Laboratories and Sandia National Laboratories.


Visualizations: The Nature Book of Art and Science by Martin Kemp

Consider Franceschini and any other artist in this book who has collaborated with scientists. Compare their engagement with scientists in terms of the following similarities and/or differences, or others you introduce.

Similarities: Artists and scientists engage the frontier of developing technologies and the formation of contemporary values.

Similarity: Artists and scientists initiate their working projects and processes with a question – an enquiry into common concerns.

Difference: Scientists work within confined professional parameters, while the artist liberates information and packages it for public consumption. Artists are more adept than scientists at translating information into forms that reach individuals, communities and organizations.

Difference: Artists, because they possess a broad range of communication strategies, can facilitate a process of learning through the engaging the senses and stimulating curiosity.

Difference: Art/science collaborations produce greater innovation because artists don’t think like scientists. Thus, a broader range of ideas is generated than if they were like-minded. Difference: Scientists provide detailed analysis, in-depth research, and a sophisticated understanding of issues unfamiliar to artists.