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Funding in Art & Science - Discussion Forum

From Roger Malina <>


There is a new phenomenon today with the emergence of artist run businesss of new types. There is a new generation of artists that are technically very literate, and often are innovators in the new media technologies. There are a number of prominent examples including Jaron Lanier, Char Davies, Brenda Laurel, Mark Tribe, Michael Naimark.

These artists have consciously chosen to straddle the worlds of art and business = not in terms of commercializing the applied arts= but to make economically viable ideas that start with artistic premises. Indeed in some cases there artists have developed new concepts and technology that have then been transferred to other fields of endeavour.

One very clear example right now is the way musicians themselves are innovating new ways of creating, performing and distributing music and sound works on line. The major music labels and the existing commercial music systems are rapidly finding themselves irrelevant in the new way that musical creators can find their audience. ( My 12 year old son will tell you this !! )

The challenge here is to invent new ways that the music composers can be compensated for their work. Old concepts of intellectual property are rapidly being shown to be irrelevant, and indeed restrictive of the composers ability to create work and find audiences. The new communication technologies are clearly a field where artists and composers= who are by motivation and expertise -trained in communication= present a new opportunities. Solutions need to come from within the arts and science community.

Here are two things that are needed:
1) A venture capital fund, investment fund, which is specialized in investing in artist and scientist run businesses, and artist and composer developed inventions. Leonardo is currently involved in early discussions with potential investors in such a fund. The need is clear = but the business community remains to be convinced.

It would be good to have documentation of good examples in this area. Leonardo journal has issued a call for papers on Artist run Businesses ( I would be interested in knowing of any other efforts to start venture capital funds specializing in artist and scientist developed ideas.

2) There are numerous organizations working on the problem of intellectual property systems in the new media ( patents, trademarks, copyright etc) These efforts in my mind are doomed to failure because they are advocated by parties with a vested interest in the status quo and the current commercial interests.

We need a new rethink of how the ideas, works, inventions of artists and scientists should be "framed " in a way that allow the artist scientist or inventors to be compensated for their work. This effort needs to be led by artist, scientists and inventors who are experienced in the new media and computer technologies .

The basic premise must be that information by its nature needs to be freely available and disseminated and copied with as few restraints as possible, yet at the same time we want a society where the work of artists, scientists and inventors is valued and compensated.

Two approaches exist that may be promising= there are a number of systems that allow on line barter to be carried out= various kinds of cybergold = ie you can copy/use someone's work only in exchange for an equivalent non monetary exchange = the system in California that runs allow for instance a dentist to offer dentist services to a musician willing to let the dentist play the music freely in his dentistry office.

Artists, scientists and inventors have needs not only for monetary income, but also various kinds of professional services. I like the idea of a society where creators received support from the community through services for their creative work. On line systems allow organized barter to be done very efficiently. Yeah this sounds a bit utopic = but why not.

A very different idea was put forward by Joel De Rosnay in a workshop that leonardo co-sponsored on Intellectual property and the arts. He proposed a biological metaphor= where every piece of digital art or music had a small coded string that encoded credit card information so that every time that a piece of music or art was transmitted from one place to another on the net= a very small sum= eg one millionth of of franc = was transferred to the account of the creator. This would be done in a totally automated way. In addition every person in the planet could be provided at birth with an account with a certain balance. Every transaction would both pay the fee to the creator but also add a tiny amount to the global fund that then endowed each human being with a initial balance.

This is sort of like the Tobin tax in economics where a very small fee= that it itself is insignificant to either party= is used to "stabilize" a system that would otherwise be unstable. In the case of the Tobin Tax = it seeks to stabilize the financial markets, in this case the DEROSNAY fee would seek to keep creators that are appreciated by an audience to make a living from their work. In addition the DEROSNAY FUND that would endow every person at birth with a starting balance would potentially creates a quantum tunnel across the digital divide.

The technology exists today to put in place this kind of system. We need some pragmatic visionaries to get it put in place. A problem with these two ideas is that the industry of middlemen that has grown up this century between the artists,scientists and their audiences would be cut out of the new art and science economy. I think this might be a good thing. I look forward to leonardo going through a fundamental genetic mutation !!!

See also Lothar Mayer's Design principles of an economy with built-in sustainability

From David Peat <>

I like Roger's ideas. Over the past years my income has come from book royalties and advances. But increasingly I am explore ideas via the Internet, this Web site being one example. Clearly such information should be clearly available, yet as a generator of information to be circulated there should clearly be some sort of recompense.

But clearly it is the responsibility of artists, musicians, writers and scientists to be the motivating forces for any change. Recall the way that Charles Dickens fought for copyright laws in a period when rival publishers could published plagiarized editions of his books and there was little chance of obtaining royalties from foreign editions.

Lothar Mayrer <>

Comments on Roger Melina Ącyber gold economics"

As far as the more technical ideas from Roger Melina are concerned ("cyber gold, equivalent non-monetary exchange") they are not really utopian (in the sense of crazy or unrealistic).

I am sure you are aware of LETS and similar schemes like Ithaca Dollars or Time Dollars
and a number of other schemes which have been initiated or sponsored by the American Schumacher Society

For the UK, Richard Douthwaite ( has reported a good number of experiments in his latest book. They are all in the nature of exchange schemes, like LETS, which does not mean that they are "non-monetary". As a matter of fact, one of the most important characteristics of these schemes is that they are not based on barter ("I'll give you a cauliflower for your five eggs") but that they are using their own proprietary means of payment ("acorns", "needles", "bits" and "hours"). These are alternative forms of money, nowithstanding the fact that they are neither identical with nor convertible into the legal tender, i.e. dollars, Pounds or Euros.

A much more revolutionary idea with far-reaching implications is the DeRosnay scheme reported by Malina. For one thing, it is a little way ahead of technology which is not yet available (at least not in the internet) for automatically charging every user or 'downloader' of a piece of music or visual art.

Apart from that it would sound to me like a very promising experiment to try and cream off at least a small portion of the cyber money which is beginning to be created for (a) the compensation of individual artists and (b) feeding a fund out of which art could be subsidised as a public service and so be made accessible to the people free of charge.

From: Ben Blum <>

In my impractical, minimalist way, I think the answer to the questions in this e-mail lies in the other one you sent out: the examination of what it is to be human. I think that underlies all of my interests and yours. Why do we wonder about the mysteries of the universe and try to express ourselves creatively? Perhaps many funding agencies are not interested in this. The drive to run from our humaness is strong and well supported by capital. But we cannot but continue to keep in touch with our humaness. Ben

From: Don Foresta - IMC <>

David, I appreciate your message on art and science. I'm still completely involved in whatever that might be, but feeling strongly as you do that its new prominence in current fashion is not doing any real dialogue any good.

There are several things that I'd like to bring to your attention. First of all, the exhibition, "Instrument Makers" that I had talked to you about is still current but has been held up.

Secondly, I'm developing an art and science virtual faculty with several people in Europe and North America which will be an on-line project proposing weekly talks on different topics, once from the artistic point of view and once from the scientific. For instance, one week we would have the topic, "perception" with Jim Turrell as the artist and Igor Aleksander, the scientist.

On another front, one of our Souillac group is respnsible for art commissions at the London Science Museum. She, Hannah Redler, has succeeded in persuading the museum that artists are very often the best interface between scientific ideas and the public. She has already commissioned four works which will be inaugurated this summer and is continuing with more including an artist designed web site for the museum. I can send you other documents on the VF and other projects, if you're interested. I do hope we can make a meeting work one of these days.

From: Francesca da Rimini <>

hi david

i think the Makrolab project by slovenian artist marko peljhan is a great example of a tactical art/science manifestation this 10 year interdisciplinary collaborative project (1997-2007) is described in detail at:

essentially it aims to provide a travelling transportable environment which is set up in fragile ecosystems, where invited scientists artists and tactical media practitioners can gather and work for intensive periods of time to research 3 systems: telecommunications, weather and migration

i have just been fortunbate enough to spend 10 days at the curreent manifestation of makro lab at wadjemup (rottnest island) off the coast of western australia:

makro lab seeks to fund itself through attracting funding from a range of government, cultural and private sources, always maintaining its autonomy and integrity it is a kind of grass roots art and science project, being inituated and maintained by marko peljhan with input from artists, architects, scientists, writers and researchers i think it offers a successful 'rennaissance' model for this new century/millenium

cheers francesca

From Siraj Izhar <>

My personal views on Funding and the Arts is border on the tragic; we know its faustian. Equally we live in a public sector economy - about 40% - so the greater source of money for those who are in need is from the public purse. Sometimes it can be more benign than the corporate purse but neither is available to the risk takers without cost.

I am close in spirit to Johannes Itten who taught at the Bauhaus in the 20s, read the Eastern classics and wrote about state subsidy for the arts. A classic extract was: The mind stands outside any organisation. where it has nonetheless been organised (religion, church), it has become estranged from its innate nature... The state should take care that none of its citizens starve, but it should not support art.

But how far would you take this? We know that the state and corporate finance have their vested interests but so do the media, the publicists, the critics........ Money is just one form of resource amongst many, though in a capitalist society it is gloriously translate-able and can buy the other resources. And most societies are naturally 'entropic' in terms of creativity; most artists with the exception of the few, will think calculating about resources available. Take Holland; which provides handsomely in welfare terms to enable its artists to live but does it result in good art? I would get bored. I think the answer would lie in the fact that art knows no home. The best artists reach an [accomodation] with the power structures but never without articulating their questions or without a struggle and profound defiance.

Scott Fitzgerald or Joseph Conrad...neither received grants, both USED resources. The artist figure as oppositional is a myth; it signifies a vital part of the journey, not all of it. But the issue of society's collective support of the artist has always gone hand in hand with the definition of society's role of the artist. In Plato's IDEAL society there was no need for the artist; that is the visionary artist. Not all artists can evolve and articulate a vision far beyond the reaches of their work and Plato understood that.

Funding for the Arts today? You could re-phrase it: Funding for administrated art; we have become too habituated to see beyond the reach of adminstrated spaces and this is getting ever more pervasive. I have written to you already about the slow extinction of civil society and its ever increasing management by the Culture Industry so you probably know where my aspirations lie............................

Siraj has also written about his Strike project and the transformation of a delerictr public lavarory into a new experimental space:

- It was a more continous experiment with a series of artists in a space on the street that was both public and private. Doing "exhibitions" in galleries is not a strike priority. I set up strike to the Public Lavatory in Spitalfields east London as an ongoing experiment: the project removes art from its institutions and sees how culture asserts itself in a primary immediate way, then to construct a visual eco-system.

- Being a succesful artist on tour between different art institutions does not interest me; its more challenging to set up your own infrastructures which develop new forms of production and circulations. The "antique" toilet is just one of strike's spaces; these spaces are structured differently so that they produce different aesthetic consequences in the urban mesh. - Strike was named after the film by Eisenstein; that's a start, it evokes other things of course. I set it up in 1992. Then it was a very personally authored yet collaborative project. The strike is really about a conciousness strike which plays itself out in real theatres; threatres which are constructed and don't exist by themselves.

- Now I am working on diy_plc. The idea is to actually set up a proper plc trading on the stock market but that the concept of the "share" is not purely abstract capital but linked to other kinds of circulation which can not be quantified by late capitalist transactions.

From Martha Senger: <>
Friday 24 Mar 2000

If I had $$ to spend on "Art and Science," I'd first supplement our budget to pay speaker's fees for the G2 Institute lecture series that's scheduled to be held this fall in San Francisco so we wouldn't be limited to speakers who live in the SF Bay Area. Co-sponsored by the San Francisco Art Institute and the Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco and the California College of Arts in Crafts across the bay in Oakland, the series will be held alternately on the three campuses beginning in late August.

Second, we'd hold a second, more comprehensive lecture series as part of an international conference a year from fall that would further explore (and document) the new aesthetic paradigm the G2 Institute has identified.

Here's how I've described this year's series and the territory it will cover:

"The G2 Institute will present a lecture series on the theme "Aesthetic Phase Shift," projecting a quantum evolutionary shift from our present mental and spatial "ego" consciousness to an integral aesthetic consciousness, culture, and science of the beautiful.

"This shift involves the supercession of art as an autonomous domain, and a release of the formative, aesthetic imagination to reunite with the life-world, healing a split that resulted from a separation of the categories of knowing at the beginning of the modern era. As Hegel wrote in "Introduction to Aesthetics," "The science of art is a much more pressing need...than in times in which art...was enough to furnish a full satisfaction. What we have to study is how these principles (of artistic beauty) pass into actual existence...the universal types which constitute the self-unfolding idea of Beauty."

"A three-way synthesis with science will also be examined in light of postmodern science's identification of a higher-dimensional realm of form that underlies and unfolds through the material structures of the world -- a discovery that overcomes the mind-matter split that's plagued Western thought, behavior, and art for over four hundred years.

"This potential synthesis of art, science and lifeworld will be looked at for its potential to "reconstruct the real" in light of escalating world-wide social and political turmoil and environmental degradation, plus recent wide-spread cultural and theoretical deconstruction of the static structures of knowing and being that have guided Western civilization since the time of the Greeks, coinciding with chaos theory's recognition of the re-emergence in the sixties of unconscious knowledge and forces.

"The conference and lecture series will discuss these trends and potential syntheses and also look to reactivating a lost communal sense of ideal objectivity via a redemptive mode of hermeneutic discourse aimed at deconstructing the sedimentation of empirical history.

"Alternative forms of life existing now in society's underground will be looked at for what they can tell of symbiotic modes of life, including an artist's habitat, the Blackfoot people, and other Indigenous cultures.

"The isomorphism of such cultural forms with nonlinear formative processes in the sciences will be examined, including David Bohm's holomovement; chaos theory's fractal patterning; the bootstrap theory of Geoffrey Chew; Charles Muses' time and desire configured topology; Roger Penrose' twistor gravity; Rupert Sheldrake's formative causation; Ilya Prigogine's dissipative structuring; Carl Jung's acausal orderedness; Marie Louise von Franz' work on number, time, and proportional relation; G. Spencer-Brown's calculus of form; Arthur M. Young's reflexive geometry of meaning; and Gregory Bateson's cybernetic "pattern that connects" feeling and thought, the part and the whole.

"The lecture series will be held alternately at three campuses, the San Francisco Art Institute and the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco and the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

"Speakers will include members of the Institute's Advisory Board and others still to be determined.

"The G2 Institute was formed in 1996 by conceptual artist and activist Martha Senger with an international Advisory Board of artists and scientists. It has held seminars since early 1998 at the San Francisco Art Institute and other Bay Area locations. ___________________________

The G2 Institute Advisory Board includes Dr. Ralph Abraham, chaos theorist, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, University of California, Santa Cruz, author of "Chaos, Gaia, Eros" and numerous mathematical texts; Jay Baldwin, editor, Whole Earth Review , author of "Bucky Works"; Susan Bowyer, Acting Director, Race, Poverty and the Environment; Mali Burgess, artist, director, "The Foundation for the Future," which explores the geometry of relationship; Richard Burg, management consultant, participant in Bohmian Dialogue groups; Maya Cain, artist, director, The Prague Project; Niccolo Caldararo, anthropologist, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, San Francisco State University. artist and art conservator, published on subjects including Native American Codices and the Dead Sea Scrolls; Kathy Goss, poet, author of a forthcoming biography of Arthur M. Young; Sharon Grace, artist, Associate Professor of New Genre Studies, San Francisco Art Institute; feminist scholar Joan Levinson; Patricia Morrison, artist, director, "The Crane Dance Network," an international artists network; Dr. Charles Muses, mathematician and authority on time, author of "Destiny and Control in Human Systems," co-author & editor of " In All Her Names," and "Consciousness and Reality: The Human Pivot Point" (British Columbia); Dr. F. David Peat, physicist and author of "Superstrings and the Search for the Theory of Everything," "Synchronicity: The Bridge Between Matter and Mind," "Turbulent Mirror," and "Science, Order and Creativity," with Dr. David Bohm (Italy); Dr. Janis Phelps, Dean, School of Consciousness & Transformation, California Institute of Integral Studies; Sandra Roos, Associate Professor, California College of Arts and Crafts; Dr. Salvatore Santoli, nanobiologist, Director of the International Nanobiological Testbed (Italy); Dr. Jacqus B. Siboni, Lacanian psychoanalyst (France); Dr. Charles Spezzano, psychoanalyst; and Jill Spezzano, artist and holistic healer.

Lothar Mayer Design principles of an economy with built-in sustainability

Roger Malina proposes a new economics for art's funding. Lothar Mayer's arguments are even more general, touching on the sustainability of the entire planet. He writes:

"Human numbers are four times the level of a century ago, and the world economy is 17 times as large. ... Oceanic fisheries ... are being pushed to their limits and beyond, water tables are falling on every continent, rangelands are deteriorating from overgrazing, many remaining tropical forests are on the verge of being wiped out, and carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have reached the highest level in 160,000 years. If these trends continue, they could make the turning of the millenium seem trivial as a historic moment, for they may be triggering the largest extinction of life since a meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago.

Click here to read the full text of Mayer's paper

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