Artists' Statement: Studies in Arousal

Science and art, now generally thought of as complementary opposites, are in practice very similar creative pursuits with analogous aesthetics. Scientific rigor appears in art discourse as technique. Likewise, the property of art that we call beauty has a twin in science called elegance.

In our series, Studies in Arousal, we blur the line that separates art from science as we look at the science of psychophysiology from the standpoint of art. Here our sculptures assume the form of experimental equipment, our photographs and videos purport to document experimental procedures, our installations mimic experimental setups, and our texts, graphs, and drawings attempt to explain everything.

Psychophysiology, the modern study of mind-body interaction, can be seen as a scientific attempt to rejoin what Rene Descartes once put asunder. That psychophysiology, a cross between two soft sciences, is viewed with skepticism by practitioners of hard science is indicative of how deeply Cartesian dualism is ingrained in contemporary thought.

We hope that spectators will examine their own psychophysiological reactions to the work: is it arousing, diverting, disconcerting? Is the experiment elegant? Is the experiment plausible and, if so, what are its implications? The spectator's self- examination will create another yet level of experimentation wherein the spectator is both scientist and subject, thus symbolically reuniting mind and body and refuting Descartes's divisive doctrine with an empirical proof.




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