Labs are places of experience. We enter to explore. Each minute in a functioning lab is like a page of a smart novel that loses meaning without reference to what came before and is about to follow.
Art, like science, is such an experience, and, yet, we encounter art and science in our museums more frequently as outcome, as product – dug up, carved down, highly edited – that follows a mysterious process of creative thought and engagement.
Process, of course, is hard to define, to classify or to curate. Occasionally, processes of exploration, discovery and innovation matter more than any result these processes ever produce.
What is this creative process? Idea development in culture, industry, education and society can be conceived as a kind of experimentation, where the catalyst for change, for movement – for innovation – is a fusion of those creative processes we conventionally think of as art and as science. This fused process, what Professor Edwards calls ‘artscience,’ is the basis of Le Laboratoire, new kind of culture center we have opened in central Paris and the inspiration for The Laboratory at Harvard.
Works of art and design resulting from a confrontation with science, or at least with technology, fill art and science museums today. The works of art and design that result from experiments at a culture lab possess a narrower definition.
At The Laboratory, we look for novel ideas of art and design that cannot be properly formulated without a sustained encounter with a pioneering edge of science. We then help broker encounters between artists and scientists that permit concrete idea formulation. Once ideas are formulated, we invest in development of the experimental projects that result. In this way, artscience, the process of creative thought that synthesizes esthetic and analytical methods, becomes a catalyst for innovation and the basis for partnership.