Performative Science

Research between Art and Science
By Hans H. Diebner

Performative science as research between art and science relies on the difference between the two cultural worlds. Having said that, one characteristic of an interface is that it evokes an ontological in-difference of the half-worlds between which a mediation is intended. This brings advocates of each of these two cultural worlds into the arena. The Rumpelstiltskin effect gains ground, i.e., rescue and procacity in one tears themself apart once called by its name.

"Sie küßten und sie schlugen ihn" (literally: they kissed and they beat him. Cf.: The 400 Blows). The quarrel with an episteme between art and science necessitates a thick skin, although, or perhaps exactly because I distance myself from the unspeakable idea of a third culture. 400 blows are anything but enough to admit to the illustrious circle.

Art as Science or Science as Art or both at the same time, i.e. Art=Science: These are only different ways of confusing the authentic with the inauthentic. Contrary to the rules, it was Goethe who obviously managed to harmonize art and science in his work. The last line of his famous poem "Ginkgo Biloba" reads: "Do my songs not make you feel - That I am both one and twain?" The historian of science Walter Saltzer writes in his essay [1] on Goethe after quoting the poem "Ginkgo Biloba" out of the West-Eastern Divan, i.e., Goethe's book of the reconciliation of cultures:
"The divided, but symmetrically unified Ginkgo leaf - a splendid symbol for the artist and scientist Goethe. Art and science in one! Does that go together, after all? Or perhaps it doesn't in the end? Should the last line, therefore, not better read, 'that I am divided and only half'."( Translation by HHD)
And with reference to the historical precedence Lucretius, he further writes:
"The ideal of the [Freudian] theory would then be the suicide due to inner conflict, demonstrated through the pretended vita of the nature-inspired poet and passionate advocate of the atomic world view at the same time, Titus Lucretius Carus. Of course, Lucretius' suicide is a trendy invention only, and even the most intimate expert does not know anything about a suicidal end of Goethe." (Translation by HHD)
Does there exist a bridge between art and science? Not so taking the ontological stance. Heidegger says, "... there exists no bridge, only the jump." Performative science, therefore, is the name for bearing up against the inner conflict. Not a bridge. But perhaps a ferry. A ferry, which has been drifted a bit from its path after each return from the other side.

[1] Walter Saltzer: Goethe - Naturwissenschaft, Kunst und Welterleben komplementär. In: Alfred Schmidt und Klaus J Grün (Hrsg.): Durchgeistete Natur: Ihre Präsenz in Goethes Dichtung, Wissenschaft und Philosophie. Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt 1999.