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Amplifying Our Voices: The Emergence of "Knowledge Art"

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

Every artist has unique strategies, techniques and a process to sway the muse and flourish; however, the magic of inspiration and the grace of creativity will come to nothing without time in the studio to manifest the vision. Some studios are grand with enviable tools and resources – others are small spaces without a trace of luxury or pretense. But there is always a space - even when it’s only a corner at the edge of a room or a bench in nearby park – there is always a space where the art is made.

What I want to propose is the emergence of Knowledge Art, as I’ll brand it, where the creation of space is inseparable from the art form itself. Knowledge Art involves the intentional creation of platforms for activating crosscutting (Art + Science) collaborations as well as the (evidence-based and immersive) creations that the collaborations yield. With the intentional construction of enduring collaborative spaces, we establish evolving experimental opportunities for fomenting creativity and innovation; forge feedback loops to inform future collaborations; engage communities for social action; and thus bring forth co-curated artistic expressions that would not otherwise be realized.

Specialized creative spaces have been designed for research, learning, creating and socializing. Enduring creative spaces for collaboration however, especially for collaborations between the Arts and Sciences are scant. The ones that do exist most often fall within the realm of STEAM Education or pioneering efforts whose goal is the promotion of scientific constructs and innovations through art. In these collaborations the artists are often able to go beyond what scientist could express alone. Knowledge Art builds on these efforts, moving the emphasis to the collaborative relationships. It asks questions like: “How can we enhance collaborations to advance creativity and innovation?” “How can we shift the boundaries of collaborative expression?” and “What elements of the collaboration accelerate knowledge exchange, community engagement and social action?”

It is a truth that we can create a better world with the knowledge and resources that are currently available but trapped in discipline and sector silos. The first step is to build platforms for collaboration that are able to release siloed knowledge, promote knowledge spillovers for creative expression and prompt social action. Creativity takes places over time, not in solitary flashes. Knowledge Art moves us beyond mere episodes of collaboration where resources and information inevitably return to respective silos once the project is complete.

The emergence of Knowledge Art has precedent. We can see aspects of the construct coming from every direction. Conceptual art emerged as a movement in the 1960s, positing that ideas be prized over formal components of art or the product itself. Participatory art has been around for decades as has protest and activist art. In recent years, socially engaged practice (i.e. public art, community art, participatory art, collaborative art and relational art) has emerged as a field that focuses on creating processes for social change rather than on end products. Exhibitions of social practice often include multiple artists participating with one other and engaging the public collaboratively.

What I am suggesting is that we can take these precedents a step further. Knowledge Art denotes the creation of enduring spaces where individuals with radically diverse knowledge sets are galvanized to blend and transform their expertise with the intent of sparking innovation and brand new creative expressions, especially immersive co-curations, for social action. With Knowledge Art we shift our emphasis to the emergence of intentional platforms that stoke transdisciplinary knowledge exchange (across disciplines, sectors, cultures and geography) and give rise to new insights, not-yet-thought-of creative expression and the social good.

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