January 17, 2010

New look, new direction

I spent most of the day implementing a few changes on the blog, some of which are immediately apparent and others that may not be. First and foremost the banner has changed, which Heather provided, based on the wildlife found in the Galapagos Islands. From left to right: Galapagos penguin, Sally Lightfoot crab, Galapagos sea lion, one of the many species of Darwin’s finches, and of course, a Galapagos tortoise. Accommodating the banner took more work than I thought it would; Blogger was being relatively uncooperative.

The most important change is the direction TVG will be taking. I've already started incorporating some of my creative work into the blog along with the usual, but after talking with Heather a while I decided that it would be interesting to have an artist's perspective on the site as a science and nature enthusiast, not only in contributing regular, original artwork to compliment research reviews and the like, but also in being a blogger at TVG with the freedom to contribute.

So if blogs are supposed to be reflections of our interests and our lives, this is a much more accurate representation, exploring art, writing, the creative process and culture, where those elements meet and intersect the science of ecology and zooming in on ecological research in isolation to illustrate the planet's complex systems and how those systems work and are disrupted. The connecting thread is a fascination with systems, how things connect: our own methods of creation in art, writing and music and the boundaries built in to that process or the creative process of analyzing ecosystems, teasing out the details of machination through tedious observation, often indirectly, and formulating a method of contextualizing and reasoning through raw data. I suspect that these processes are inherently the same; to some degree, I think Isaac Asimov would agree:

How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. An artist is emotional, they think, and uses only his intuition; he sees all at once and has no need of reason. A scientist is cold, they think, and uses only his reason; he argues carefully step by step, and needs no imagination. That is all wrong. The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. The true scientist is quite imaginative as well as rational, and sometimes leaps to solutions where reason can follow only slowly; if he does not, his science suffers.

I think one of the mistakes, however, in comparing the two disciplines in general is too often perceived as a statement of equivalence in their products (not value-based). Where art and science align is in the process, not the product. The "solutions" the artist and scientist find are worlds apart, with different intent and purpose, to be evaluated by different communities of experts and enthusiasts, at least in their own context.

In the coming weeks, I'll be synching some of the material written over at ScienceBlogs to unify my work, but not as contemporary reposts, not yet at least. Just want to collapse the archive, so to speak. So there's a bit more administrative work that needs to be done, but we're in a good position to focus on content. Glad to be back and looking forward to work in the future.

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