em: kevin аτ blackistone.com

Research Expansions

We are in a whirling maelstrom of innovation and scientific progress. While it may seem like the pace of great scientific discovers has slowed since the ages of elightenment, the pace at which we expand the bodies of knowledge continues to grow as new technologies build upon each other and access between disciplines increases. But this access is controlled, and who controls this access limits both what can be discovered and who can learn from the knowledge currently available. The concept and difficulties of the peer-reviewed journal as for-profit business model rather than means of scientific verification and public release is well documented. Organizations such as Sci-Hub and Arxiv.org work to side-step this, and while businesses such as Elsevier actively criticise the former and fight for it's removal, many of their papers actively cite from it.1

The amount of publicly funded research that then goes into journals accessible only to those of financial means is only one level, however. The questions of what publicly funded research is release and what is researched in the first place may be similarly problematic as the reigns of power change. Certainly, we are currently in a place where much critical research is intentional being held back and redacted at the governmental level. EVerything from climate research, to geological, medical and agricultural research are under siege to fit narratives favorable to specific parties.

Even if we leave these above issues be, the scientific field has a further level of difficulty in providing access to it's findings - language. The way in which scientific papers are written is nearly indesciferable for the lay-person. The details are two detailed and require a pre-knowledge of at least their proximal imprtance and the words connecting those details are two much the scientific coloquial. Scientists tend to be unfortunately poor at releasing their information in a public friendly way. If they are to get the public excited, then frequently they must do so by accentuating the most fantastic of claims for what their research may mean or produce. These claims frequently become the headlines that media organizations (themselves ill-equiped to read the actual paper and thus give more than a parroting critique) run with. This leads to both mis-understandings of the research and disappointment when the grandest of claims to not come to pass. In the worst of cases - frequently in the medical and dietary fields - this leads to whole advice columns on how one can treat oneself. More benignly there are whole quadrants of the internet devoted to various of the pseudo-sciences making any number of cited claims to there accuracy. These further result in missunderstanding of what research is, how it is conducted and what can be claimed from it all of which produce public distrust in the research (usually in a highly cherry-picked way based on the parts of research one wants to believe).

Centrifuge - [2019]

Within a display table sits a indeterminate piece of scientific machinery. Above it, upon a curved piece of white acryllic, is projected an algorithmically random pattern of rapidly shifting, horizontal, prismatic blocks. The milky acrylic casts a glow both upon the wall and illuminates the locked-away metal structur below.


1 Eve, Martin Paul. “Elsevier threatens others for linking to Sci-Hub but does so itself.”Open AccessWeb. Aug 2019.

» August 15, 2019