Preface

A second group of chapters deals with somatic and spatial computing. How can we understand our body better or perceive it differently? What relation does it have to the surrounding space? How can we use bodily functions and senses to make art in real time? What novel designs for urban spaces can we infer from nature and art? In her works, Sonja Cillari employs the human body as performer and as means to show its sensitivity on various levels as well as its spatial relations. Marco Donnarumma develops biosensors for his musical performance “Nigredo” and presents his concepts of configuring human and technological bodies. In “Metabodies” Sonja Bäumel engineers glowing bacteria colonies from imprints of human skin. Álvaro Castro-Castilla and Francisco Gallardo speculate about future “Swarm Cities” based on swarm-behaviour algorithms. This is only to mention some of the fascinating themes.

The focus of “Experiencing the Unconventional. Science in Art” is on the advancement of novel art concepts and works where physical, chemical and living substrates organically fit into paradigms, architectures and implementations of creativity, unconventional and nature-inspired computing, interactivity, unusual hardware, devices and wetware interfaces through innovative exhibits and performances. One of the main features of this compendium is its inspiring polymorphism of contributions, which reflects the vibrant development of the field. This makes the book stand out from the standard art historical book or exhibition catalogue. It provides in-depth insight and first-hand working experience into current production of art works at the edge of art, science and technology.

Finally, we would like to note that the chapters are written by artists themselves – with a few exceptions of art historians or media theorists. All ideas, concepts and implementations are represented by their creators. We would like to thank the authors for their ambitious and outstanding effort on their contributions. This resulted in a collection of works made by a new type of artist who is not only concerned with the visual, or more generally the sensual, level of their work but also with scientific conceptualization and theoretical reflection by contextualizing their studies and work in the interdisciplinary field of art and science.

Theresa Schubert and Andrew Adamatzky, Jan 2015.