In episode 14, we speak about artistic research, experiments as games and going from art to science and back. It is a dual interview this time, featuring both the artist (Prof. Margarete Jahrmann, Zurich University of Arts) and the scientist (Prof. Stefan Glasauer, Brandenburg Technical University).

 

To give you some idea of the background of our protagonists:

Prof. Stefan Glasauer studied engineering & cybernetics at TUM, then did his PhD in behavioral physiology at the Max Planck in Seewiesen. While a postdoc in Paris, he found time to collaborate with NASA on experiments exploring gravity.

Prof. Margarete Jahrmann  studied  philosophy, psychology, art, education, painting and media during her various graduate degrees. Frankly, I am simply at a loss for words to describe this Renaissance woman, who simultaneously operates at such a high level both in the arts and academia

During our conversation, we discuss:

  • what the scientist learns from the artist and what the artist takes away from the scientist
  • how scientific behavioral experiments and games are similar
  • why epistemological differences between arts and sciences persist
  • how to change the system, one mind at a time
  • why we might be witnessing a historical moment for artistic research
  • … and how to train neuroscientists for this brave new world
  • two particular examples of their successful collaboration: Opera of Entropy (2016) “Moving humans” event at the Tate Exchange Gallery in London (2019)

 

In the episode, we mention a public talk Prof. Glasauer and Prof. Jahrmann gave at the ERES foundation (I can personally recommend checking it out regardless, if you are based in Munich, they have excellent rotating exhibitions exploring the connection between art, science and technology), where they show fragments from the two aforementioned experiments and elaborate on the set-up:

 

If your curiosity has been sufficiently piqued, and you don’t mind some mild travelling to pursue it further:

Save the Date

16th October 2019, 7pm

Ludic Method Soirée
featuring Shu Lea Chang, discussing Ludics and her work 3x3x9,
presented at Venice Biennial.

Artistic Research PhD program,
University of Applied Arts Vienna
Rustenschacher Allee 2-4
1020 Wien

For more information and updates, you can check: http://ludic-society.net/soirees  (starting from September)

As you will hear in the recording, Prof. Jahrmann had to leave at a certain point. From then on, we continued with Prof. Glasauer, whom I asked our regular closing questions:

1) What is the most successful theory in neuroscience today?

This is what I usually ask our guests, but knowing Prof. Glasauer’s fondness of the Bayesian approach

I reformulated it to: Why do you find Bayesian approach compelling? 

Actually, I think people tend to misread Bayesianism as saying that people are perfect optimal estimators. Sometimes they are, most of the time they are not, but they are doing something close to it.

So then I substituted our regular question about a recent piece of compelling data for:

What is the most compelling piece of evidence for Bayesianism and the cases where it does work?

For example, the work of Marc Ernst and our work on sequential effects, where a model with two parameters can explain a wealth of experiments.

2) Which skill do you wish you had acquired earlier on in your career?

Understanding of statistics and probability theory. Not only because you yourself are dealing with noisy and variable data – the brain does too.

Happy Listening!

Stay tuned: we’ll be back soon with a special episode for our first small anniversary!