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How I started out into the world of art and science might seem to be not a typical path

Right after school I started studying Social and Economic Sciences at the University of Linz. During my studies I was very interested in social, individual, and class dynamics, where theories of interaction, behaviour, psychology, philosophical approaches, sociology, and anthropology played a central role. As I always was torn between disciplines, I really wanted to integrate art and culture in my PhD, and I managed to include Media Art and Art Theories at the University of Art and Design Linz. My thesis focused on impact and potential of arts-based initiatives in non-artistic environments, mainly corporate settings. Additionally, I formed a major interest in work processes and an evolving theory on work and organization based on ideas from aesthetics: Organizational Aesthetics. A few years into my Assistant Professorship, I got the chance to take another step by working more in practice and finally I could include natural sciences and technologies into my work: in 2014 I started as head of the newly founded Ars Electronica Residency Network.

This was really the moment when suddenly all the pieces of the puzzle of my ideas started to fall into place. Since then, I had the opportunity to work with a diverse range of institutions, artists, and scientists, and I could develop my ideas and work on understanding the field in much more depth. RB: Have there been any particular influences to your ideas and working practice? CS: There were a few. First of all, starting from this untypical background of Social and Economic Sciences enabled me to look at the process between the field and between the people that meet in art-science collaboration or exchange in a different way: this theoretical background and the research methodologies provide me with a lot of tools to see and understand changes and impact. Thus, for example, I try to be really specific based on ideas from Creativity Theory when I want to understand the potential of art-science processes. Even approaches from Economic Sciences and Business Administration can be valuable, especially when it comes to understanding different logics of thinking in the fields and the need to translate between artists, scientists and their managers, or when it comes to understand the necessity to understand organizational structures when you want to make something happen that is completely new to the organization in which it happens. Another aspect that influences my ideas and working practice is the theory of Organizational Aesthetics and the quest to understand implicit knowledge, embodied processes and interactions through sensory experience.

This was something that spoke to me not only through art, but also through how I started to learn different processes, such as working with wood when I worked part-time as a cabinet maker at my parent’s carpentry during my first years of study, or the pelatihan process in martial arts. My thinking about this in art-science processes and the potential that this lens bears is still developing. The third point, I guess, is that I really enjoy going back and forth between practical work in the field and more academic investigation and theoretical thinking about the field.

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