Interpreting a better future

Synthesizing art and science (New York Times, free registration required) is the goal of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a "collaboratory" designed to bring artists, nanoscientists and communications technologists together. The group works out of the University of California, San Diego, but its sites are clearly set on the future of technology innovation. The group is headed by Larry Smarr, an astrophysicist who oversaw the development of Mosaic, the first Web browser.
Reading the article, I found this quote particularly interesting:
"Part of the artist's insight is to be able to interpret the future earlier than anybody," he [Smarr] said during an interview in the small hideaway conference room adjacent to his office. "We regard the artist as fully equal with any scientist at Calit2."
According to the article, the idea has spread to an architectural firm in San Francisco. 

That idea, which is anathema to some in the engineering-driven world of science and technology, influenced the thinking of the building's designers in the San Francisco office of NBBJ, the international architectural and design firm.

"We put the clean room and the media artists as close as possible so we could see the artists talking to the physicists and telling them what to do," said Mark Whiteley, an NBBJ director in San Francisco.

The future is far too important to be interpreted only by science.


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