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Glass is a visceral membrane that can be inflated, stretched and compressed

Much like a human body, glass has incredible strength and durability as well as extreme fragility and vulnerability. Electricity courses through our bodies carrying signals that both sustain our existing architecture and produce new connections that further develop our sense of self. This work represents the way in which information from environmental stimuli processing within our bodies creates connections to retain and recall experience. A correlation exists between the speed at which light travels and the seemingly instantaneous speeds at which electricity transmits information through our neurons. We are constantly processing our world, searching and sifting through experiences to make seemingly infinite connections between other experiences that will inform how we navigate through life.

The human skull, crafted as a glass vessel, depicts an integration of both skeletal and electrical systems of the living body. The hollow voids within the glass are filled with an inert gas to make visible by way of light the kinetic electricity that is present within. But maybe it is more interesting to talk about a few turning points: first, when I started my PhD everybody told me to focus on Design Thinking instead of art, this art approach is doomed those people said. I was stubborn and during my PhD I was lucky enough to meet one of the fathers of the theory of Organizational Aesthetics, Antonio Strati, who was very supportive towards my ideas and brought me in touch with a class of researchers around Pierre Guillet de Monthoux who were interested in arts-based initiatives. This gave me the confidence to go on in this direction. Finally, in 2011, by chance I attended a keynote by Victoria Vesna and bluntly approached her after her talk. Finding out more about her work and her positive feedback to my work also encouraged me to find ways to include science and technology into my work as a next step. RB: Why do you think collaboration between artists, scientists, technologists and business is significant? CS: First of all, I think we need to bring the perspectives together to create something relevant. But this goes way beyond the idea of putting together all perspectives to a bigger pictures, it includes understanding contexts, critical reflection and joint critical discussions, overcoming habitual blindness, and supporting sense-making in a world where everybody is hunting innovation.

Especially including art in the collaboration does not only allow to get access to artistic thinking, critical cultural exploration and artistic processes, but also to get in touch with aesthetics, sensory experience, and investigate or work with implicit knowledge differently. In a world with a lot of abstract concepts and ever-evolving technology, we should not forget that we are creatures that experience through the body, and do not only compute rational arguments. I am aware that bringing business into the mix can be seen critically. I do so, too, but there is also a lot of potential that should not be underestimated. There are open questions concerning instrumentalization of art for business goals or whitewashing through the integration of the artistic projects into corporations’ communication. This is a tough one and I do not want to pretend to have a solution. I like to work on providing opportunities for artists, enable critical reflection for the business part to understand better what they are doing and the possible impact of their actions. Also coupling this with educational aspects and potential empowerment of the public through a better understanding of what the technology entails instead of buying products blindly is a valuable approach and can be important for corporations.

For example, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, mentioned in an interview with the New York Times in August 2020 that if he could go back in time to when they founded Twitter, what he would have done differently was to include a game theorist, a behavioural economist and a social scientist. These were missing disciplines that Dorsey said “ultimately would have been important helping us think about, not just building a product, but building something that people use socially and the ramifications of that. Meaning if that.” But, from what I’ve seen from the potential of artscience projects, art has a lot to contribute there, too. This goes along with the current ideas of imagining and re-imagining the future, tackling dunia challenges, and discussions around humanizing technology. Yes, there might be problems along the way, there are many open and hidden interests that drive people from diverse background and in diverse affiliations, and not all problematic questions have been solved, but I also see a lot of potential if we want to design a future together. So I have chosen my projects with major business partners and corporations carefully and try to create better frameworks to realize such collaborations in a way that is beneficial for everybody.

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