Scientific Images: Art or Non-Art?


Scientific images are, primarily, not artwork. They serve science as the most important visualisation tool which natural science cannot replace with anything else. Scientific images divide into those produced from observation of natural events and phenomena, those generated in experimental set ups prepared to suit checking a certain hypothesis/theory, images calculated from natural laws expressed in mathematical equations, numerical simulations of natural phenomena under precisely defined conditions, images resulting from analyses of data. All scientific images are based on number scratching, plotting these numbers on a plane in the form of sections cut across multi-dimensional parameter spaces. In the rarest cases they correspond to visual objects, not even in astronomy, making the Invisible visible by highly specialised methods. This diametrically opposes the intention of Art thus making scientific images and artwork complementary results of human activity. However, they have in common that they both go always beyond any limits, scientific images crossing the horizon of knowledge, artworks crossing the horizon of forms. Both enter into the Unknown. Conditionally, scientific images in purity can, like any other object, be declared artwork when taking them out of their science context. Though, in most cases, these will be poor readily dying art. However, nothing inhibits that creative artists modify and distort them appropriately to produce artwork that fits the requirements of the fine arts. Three examples of scientific images from astronomy, numerical simulation and geology are shown and manipulated to assume some properties usually attributed to artwork only.

  author = {Treumann, R. A.},
  language = {en},
  note = {Paper dealing with meaning of fine arts.  pp 60. Figures 9},
  title = {Scientific Images: Art or Non-Art?},
  year = {2015},
%O Unpublished Work
%A Treumann, R. A.
%G en
%O Paper dealing with meaning of fine arts.  pp 60. Figures 9
%T Scientific Images: Art or Non-Art?
%D 2015