Objects in the Field
Originally published on The Learned Pig, February 2014.
Collaboration between the arts and the sciences is both increasingly prominent and, perhaps as a consequence, increasingly problematic. Projects and practices describing themselves as interdisciplinary collaborations are on the rise, in part as a result of funding availability. But it’s also more complex than that: art is always drawn to power, and few institutions in the Western world today wield as much power as omniscient Science.
But to what extent can pure, balanced collaboration ever actually occur? Is it not always marked by the spectre of the parasite, or of exploitation? On the one hand, perhaps this particular period in the history of relations between the arts and the sciences may be seen as a great coming together of shared interest and understanding (but what would that look like?). On the other, and less explicitly, perhaps it’s actually seeing a crystallisation of existing oppositions, whereby each so-called collaborator retreads the same lines of opposition in the very process of ‘collaboration’. Perhaps, as ever, it’s a bit of both.
Such questions are deftly alluded to by Sophy Rickett in her thoughtful and elegant exhibition, Objects in the Field. Originally exhibited at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, the project has been expanded upon and is now on show at Camilla Grimaldi’s temporary space in an intriguingly unprepossessing office block on Old Burlington Street.
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