Thesis Info

Thesis Title
From Le Musee des Sciences to the Science Museum: fifteen years of evolving methodologies in the science/art interface
Martha Fleming
2nd Author
3rd Author
Doctor of Philosophy by Practice and by Published Work
Number of Pages
Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Thesis Supervisor
Professor Guy Julier
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Dr Ken Arnold
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
School of Art Architecture and Design
Languages Familiar to Author
English, French, Spanish
URL where full thesis can be found
atomism, animism, methodology, museums, practice-based research, sciart, site-work
Abstract: 200-500 words
From Le Musée des Sciences to the Science Museum: Martha Fleming 2004 Abstract The submission of published work of this practice-based doctoral thesis spans a period of 15 years from 1984 to 1999 and includes original artwork of international significance in visual documentary form as well as exhibition publications, museum interpretation materials, book chapters, and conference proceedings. In a variety of creative and critical ways, my work as an artist over this period has investigated and contributed to the evolving place of artistic and museological practices in uncovering deep-structure links between the arts and the sciences in terms of shared methodologies and epistemological inquiries. The synthesis focuses on methodology and practice in the production of my exhibition Atomism & Animism (Fleming, London, 1999) through the period of my artist residency from 1996 to 1999 at the Science Museum London. It begins by charting the acquisition of intellectual and practical skills during the making of Le Musee des Sciences (Fleming & Lapointe, Montreal, 1984) which is referenced extensively in Studiolo (Fleming, Johnstone and Lapointe 1997) and which was informed by readings of Feyerabend. The synthesis goes on to examine the evolution of my development as an artist uniquely exploring science/art links through museum exhibition practice and methodology, setting this evolution in an historically informed contextual framework. This framework has two broad aspects: the development of contemporary artists’ practices in relation to non-art museums and museology in general, and the development of ideas of public understanding of science within a science museology milieu. I examine aspects of the flow between these contexts and my own work via the reference point of my lecture Paradigm & Diagram: How Artists Think Science (Fleming, 1996), which I wrote whilst producing Open Book (1996) for the Science Museum and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The official residency at the Science Museum during which I produced Atomism & Animism (Fleming, London, 1999) followed on immediately, beginning October 1997. All three of these works are rooted in readings from Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough. The conclusion outlines the unique bodies of cultural knowledge produced by the works which I submit, and proposes that their innovative exploration of subjectivity in the display of objects of science can in turn become a study arena for a scientific approach to consciousness. The synthesis finishes with an evaluation of the implications of my work for future interdisciplinary research between artists, scientists and cultural institutions.