The Art&Science Cluster Opens Its Doors

Recently ITMO University initiated the Art&Science Cluster. Created thanks to the interaction of specialists from different areas and fields like science, education, culture, business and art, this "innovative environment" will meet the requirements of the modern world. Read how experts in such dissimilar fields plan to work side by side.

As of now, Art&Science phenomenon is a popular trend, which unites various forms of science and art. Representatives of both spheres appreciate its applications, as research knowledge and up-to-date technologies help detect authenticity of a painting or artist’s handwriting, explain why realism appeared in terms of optics, find out the exact date of a manuscript by analyzing the chemical composition of writing ink and many other things.

Apart from obvious applications of Art&Science we may find the tools for solving such an important problem as the common crisis of mankind, which is related to the integration of art and science. It comes from various types of human estrangement like estrangement from culture, history, social and civil contacts and also from oneself. It is caused by an inability to comprehend large amounts of data generated every day, dissemination of technocracy and popularity of virtual reality at the expense of the real world.

It became clear to many scientists and artists that it is necessary to integrate knowledge, experience and methods of art and science so as to discover new ways of how we can find the balance between technologies and reality as well as comprehend ourselves.

The strategy of the Art&Science Cluster includes the best trends in the world. That is why its main goal is to humanize research achievements and technologies as well as implement them into our lives.

Nowadays the Institute develops several top-priority areas:

The "New Technologies for Children" project aims to create new "environments" that help children obtain new information and turn it into knowledge.

The "Navigation" project assists to develop and implement guide systems for complicated social and physical environments taking into account their characteristics, peculiarities and features.

The "Virtual World" project serves as a tool for development and implementation of virtual and augmented reality technologies.

The "Internal World" project aims to create and make models of so-called "environmental situations" when people can reflect on their mental worlds and the internal worlds of others as well as analyze their own behavior.

The "Cultural Heritage" project works in two areas: applying modern technologies to a museum environment, creating interactive exhibitions and development of technologies for analyzing masterpieces using physical optical analysis.

"Thanks to Art&Science, scientists and artists can work on new strategies for modern challenges. It is very important to prevent the concept of developing technologies for their own purposes totally ignoring their main goal — to contribute to the human environment. Only cooperating with each other, researchers and artists can create a new comfortable environment for society," comments Natalia Bystryantseva, head of the Art&Science Institute.

In such a way, ITMO will be able to make new contacts between people and technologies as well as create innovations for quickly developing fields, surpass others in reaching the market and have advantages over large companies that change the future.

The Art&Science Cluster is an active community, which has fused together representatives of ITMO University such as engineers at labs and research centers, student fabrication laboratories as well as university’s partners and supervisors. One of the main goals of the Cluster is to establish interdisciplinary communities of professionals and commercialize novelties. Its projects correlate with ITMO’s top majors like IT, photonics, robotics and others.

"Using the facilities of the Cluster we plan to train professionals who will understand both art and scientific languages and use two thinking paradigms, analytical and creative," adds Ms. Bystryantseva.

To reach these goals the Cluster will offer special Master’s programs focusing on innovation activities.

The projects of the Cluster will be devoted to urban problems so as to make contacts between the government and society, initiate educational events and involve St. Petersburg inhabitants into the Cluster’s activities.

According to the organizers, the events initiated by the cluster will serve as an alternative to the entertainment, as it will keep an atmosphere of interaction and fun and at the same time will give people an opportunity to gain knowledge about the unstable world so as to contribute to its development.

The "Art Residence" is one of the Cluster’s centers. Here one will create new ideas and make experiments using both scientific and art experiences. To join the Residence researchers, specialists and artists need to take part in the competitive selection. It is necessary to present an idea (it can be a project proposal, art work or a design project) which will be judged by the expert committee. Supervised by Russian and international experts the Art Residence will meet requirements of Russian society as well as correlate with world’s tendencies and trends.

The Art&Science has already presented its first project — a series of lectures took place in the Hermitage in 2016 and will also continue in 2017.

The project-based lab "NEBO.812" [in English "Sky.812" -Ed.] was created as a center for making interdisciplinary projects covering science and art. The lab attracts researchers in different fields and also those who have no experience in the field of Art&Science. For example, some of ITMO’s technologies that can be applied to painting, architecture, design and restoration are little known among artists. The Art&Science helps build bridges between these worlds by attracting various ITMO’s specialists and informing the Cluster about world’s challenges and trends. All these activities include cooperation of scientists, engineers and artists.

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