In ‘Elementaire deeltjes’, Vermeulen P. points out that art and science projects are often hard to access by non-technologists, that these projects tend to be self-referential. New media projects are put in special reservations as the centers ZKM in Karlsruhe and V2 in Rotterdam, or the festivals Ars Electronica in Linz and the Transmediale in Berlin. One of the reasons is probably because it is difficult to keep the balance between art and science in a project. Art cannot be instrumentalized, and science should always keep its cogency. But also according to Vermeulen, in between there lies potential in the grey zone that is speculative, even existential, where technè and epistèmè meet.
In my artistic practice I am inspired by a form of knowledge, that was firmly embedded in society, that relates to technè and epistèmè, that is speculative. I am fascinated by alchemy, also The Great Art (Ars Magna), a form of protoscience. Alchemical work laid foundations for both the content and the practice of modern science, especially chemistry, and played an important role in the formation of cultural attitudes towards science and technology. Alchemy’s concepts and promises had an equal impact on humanistic fields, by influencing fine art, literature, theatre, and poetry.
Besides being a coherent laboratory practice and explanatory system, alchemy was equally a powerful metaphor for cultural, spiritual, and material transformation that provided a compelling and coherent world-view that proved highly influential in philosophical and intellectual contexts. But on the other hand, it is associated with deceit, illusion and even charlatanism.
I will investigate how adding the element of alchemy to art and science projects can change the perspective on these projects.
[Vermeulen, P. (2020). Elementaire deeltjes: heropening iMAL in Brussel. Hart, nr. 202. https://hart-magazine.be/expo/elementaire-deeltjes-heropening-imal-in-brussel]
Dries Lips (born in Deinze, 1983) is a visual artist, based in Antwerp. After being graduated as architect at the University of Ghent in 2006, steadily he approached art. His academic background leads him to specific artistic research and experimentation. During his master in Visual Arts at Sint Lucas Antwerpen (2017-2022), Dries intensified his artistic practice. In 2022 he starts the Advanced Master of Research in Art and Design.