This Other Data Club had something different. We, the artists in residency, didn’t present a thing. The discussion was provoked by the interventions of two CNC researchers who brought to the ODC some subjects they found interesting to be shared and talked about.
Gabriel brought an article by Peter Duesberg (among others) entitled “The chemical bases of the various AIDS epidemics: recreational drugs, anti-viral chemotherapy and malnutrition” where the authors explore the possibility of different causes for AIDS. What Gabriel finds interesting in the first place is that this scientist is a nice example of someone who doesn’t stop to question things even when everybody else thinks differently.
This made us discuss about conspiracy theories, the difficulty of publishing “away from the track” ideas, the peer review system (again!), the way sometimes some researches might be forced in certain directions for the need to achieve results and previously defined objectives, the very small increments each research adds to the whole picture many times just for the sake of playing safe, and so on…
After this first discussion, Teresa read us an excerpt of “A Discourse on the Sciences“, by Boaventura de Sousa Santos, namely the section entitled “All scientific knowledge aims at becoming common sense.”. His ideas on that brief excerpt made us talk about common sense and “scientific” sense, science communication, and even lead to someone’s reflection about the need for democracy inside scientific labs.
1 p.m. was there and we had to leave. It was really interesting to have researchers lead the subjects of the conversation which tend, very often, and judging also by the experience of previous ODC’s, to the social structure of the scientific lab (and of science as a system) and the essential interference this has on the research being carried on.
And if this subject is so important to them – the scientific researchers – it definitely is important to us – the artists.