Art Science Research Laboratory (ASRL), a New York based, not-for-profit organization, is committed to the creation of intellectual environment and advocacy of interdisciplinary study, encompassing research, collections, and publishing. Founded in 1998 by Rhonda Roland Shearer and professor Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002), ASRL provides a unique setting allowing art historians, scientists, artists, designers, and programmers to work side by side on a daily basis. Everyone is encouraged to contribute ideas, participate in a dynamic environment, and challenge outdated but still prominent structures of practices in arts, science, and humanities. Our goal is to promote and facilitate a fast, thorough, efficient global exchange of knowledge in fields ranging from art and science, scholars’ collective, and journalism ethics, to the cyberBOOK+ system, in order to generate a network of people sharing knowledge and research methodologies for mutual understanding of cultures and histories.
ASRL’s first major project in artscience education focuses on the lifework of the French-American artist, Marcel Duchamp (1887- 1968), who constantly challenged the boundary between the cultural and the scientific. Throughout his life, he incorporated mathematics, optics and perceptual theory into his art and design work. He presented his viewers with a series of mental games that forced them (and still do today) to re-evaluate Intuition, Memory, and the Creative Act. His brain-teasing games of perception and knowledge and the mathematics underlying his complicated oeuvre lie at the core of ASRL’s research. “The Method of Understanding Art and Science: The Case of Duchamp and Poincaré,” the internationally acclaimed symposium examining topics relevant to both Henry Poincaré and Duchamp, was held on November 5-7, 1999, at the Harvard University Science Center. The following month, the first electronic journal on Duchamp , Tout-Fait: The Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journal, was launched. Since its inauguration, Tout-Fait has established itself as the accredited asset for scholarly study and recommended by the BBC, the New York Times, Leonardo Digital Review, and AICA-USA, the U.S. section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). Most of all, the largest private collection on works by or related to Duchamp, and an extensive archive of historical ephemera materials in the ASRL, is made accessible, fee of charge, to interested scholars, students, and the general public.
In 2001, ASRL embarked on the pilot project of the CyberBOOK software development , with special focus on utilizing high quality technologies like high-end 3D animations; portal of personal cyberLOCKER for storage and authoring tools, such as a notecard/notepad system; archival search engine available for both the journal and readers’ notes; audio and image finder; text markers, and much more. Normally reserved for the commercial world, cyberLOCKER will be available for scholars and students to explore and assess their ideas as work in progress. This creation of knowledge management systems is based upon how students and faculty or independent scholars actually do scholarship. ASRL joins forces with the Alexandria Library in Egypt to create a cyber access portal with major global institutions in the educational field . This portal will be structured as a network of access points to a distributed archive of online resources shared by coop members throughout the developed and the developing world.
Ms. Rhonda Roland Shearer, together with London Allen, initiated the WTC Ground Zero Relief Project on the day after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The idea and mission for this project is to work closely, directly and systematically with the WTC recovery workers at Ground Zero and Fresh Kills, expediting the provision of much needed tools, equipment, and health, safety and comfort supplies. With the participation of volunteers on a daily basis, WTC Ground Zero Relief persisted at the same pace as the on-site recovery effort until July 2002, when it was officially concluded. Believing in the necessity to document history in a correct and truthful? manner, ASRL presents the WTC Living History Project, September 11 2001 History Magazine, and Journalism Ethics Studies as the results of Ms. Shearer’s observation of 9/11 literatures and news reports. As an alternative to dubious or unethical accounts by certain news media and journalists, ASRL has introduced methodologies normally practiced by science and has used the validation and verification process of good journalism. ASRL also gives the key players who actually ran Ground Zero a unique opportunity to participate in the creation of WTC Oral Histories, a new approach to documenting history whereby their own voices may be heard.
ASRL has recently partnered with Stanford University Library on the creation of the Stephen Jay Gould Digital Archive and the Piet Mondrian Manuscripts Digitalization Project. Stanford University Library, which has the most advanced digitalizing technology and knowledge, will scan and digitize the antiquarian book collection, manuscripts, papers, and ephemera from Professor Gould’s collection as well as the original manuscripts by Piet Mondrian held by Mr. Shearer. Both will be available online.
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