As a part of The Undivided Mind residency program, KHOJ presented Hence (Un)Proven, a series of conversations which attempted to explore the world as defined (and possibly divided) by science, and other disciplines.
The Undivided Mind art-science residency aspired to bridge one of the deepest divides in thought and culture in our time. When we speak of an ‘undivided mind’, what mind are we speaking of? Do we speak of the mind as the seat of individual and human consciousness, of a community, a nation, the planet? Or are we thinking of a mind that does not distinguish between the arts and sciences as way of knowing this world? If the body of the mind were to be divided, where would the fracture lie? How would identifying the fault lines inform us of new ways of engaging with the world?
What anxieties could the idea of an undivided mind conceal? Does it reveal a concern about a time when divided and divisive minds seem to reign? What unknown longing could the undivided mind embody?
Not too long ago, individuals naturally worked across disciplines. As fields of inquiry continue to bifurcate, and our minds hone in to a multitude of sharper insights and heightened expertise in separate disciplines, what was gained and what was lost? Can we retrieve what was lost in this polarization of knowledge between arts and sciences? Is there a hierarchy in this segregation?
How do these two cultures define the mind, the self and the other? How does the greater project of science influence how we organize our lives, our politics, society, and culture? Can the arts provide a critique of the scientific endeavour or help express the cultural ambivalence towards the promise that science has offered?
We brought together social scientists, science writers, philosophers and artists to explore these questions and more at KHOJ.
The session was curated by Aparna Uppaluri Banerjee, of Science and Society program at the National Center for Biological Sciences (TIFR) Bangalore.