Foreword

The exhibition m^2 Earth challenges viewers with the emotional impact of artistic and scientific questions of the present age. At first glance, art and science seem to be far out of each other’s comfort zones; the one is viewed as methodically precise, the other as creatively unpredictable. But a second view reveals a lot of common ground. Historically, art and science weren’t viewed separately, as the work of Leonardo da Vinci can attest. The split took place in the age of Newton and industrialization; during the industrial revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries, a need for specialization temporarily pulled science and art apart. Hopefully today we will be able to return to a holistic way of looking at the workings of arts and science, as they have a lot in common in the way they approach the themes of society and culture.

Indeed, the artist and scientific methods are not so dissimilar. A phenomenon catches the artist’s eye. He starts, circles around and questions the subject. From there the process goes over to the experimental phase, analysis and reflections. He arranges everything again and again, ending sometimes with the final thesis (artwork) and other times with empty hands. Sometimes there is no answer; there is not artwork. I guess, this process is one to which any scientist can relate.

There are of course differences, and a well-chosen synergy can create wonderful results. Art inspires science. Didn’t Max Planck discover the quantum theory through music?

In photography, the camera is a light recorder, a scientific tool in the hands of artists. Cooper Blade and Ida Marie Tangeras, two students from the BTK-University of Art and Design, Berlin, worked in cooperation with IRI THESys at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. These two young artists, supported through the institute, visualized questions of sustainability. The artists’ challenge was to translate interdisciplinary scientific research into the language of artistic practice and formulate a joint concept. This was a great opportunity for them. Because the two artists are so different, both in personality and apporach, they faced two challenges: The first challenge was working in a team, the second was using their own very different approaches synergistically to create a collection of artwork dealing with questions of sustainability. The calm pragmatic manner of Cooper Blade balanced the creative chaos of Ida Mrie Tangeras, and vice versa. Their output is a great achievement and I am sure it will gain the appreciation of the viewers.

Prof. Walter Bergmoser
Director and Professor of Photography at BTK University of Applied Sciences, Art & Design Berlin

This text was originally published as an introduction in the catalogue for the m^2 Earth Exhibition.