I take a train to the converted factory now housing arts, labs, and studios, but the train does not deposit me closely; I walk a straight line under the expressway, through a school, through a housing project, past a block of customized townhouses, crossing the street where the corners have a bar, bookstore, and hardware supplier, and finally end up nearly on the water.
There is no clear directory upon entry. There does not appear to be anyone on the first floor, or elsewhere for that matter, so I ascend the staircase. At one landing hangs a painting of two naked men in profile, facing each other in a cool blue pool of water, a floating chessboard between them. They are contemplating the game, their erect penises pointing at each other to say, your turn. The bottom of the painting bears the title in red paint: Brothers.
I reach the third floor where the rest of the stairs are blocked off, a large golden bull's head resting on the forbidden landing. It's facing upwards, as if to suggest the treasure I am seeking is outside the glass ceiling.
The third floor is a construction site. I had been told to go all the way to the end of the hall but it only appears to be an open floor plan of sawdust and plywood. To the left is a small alcove with an office behind fogged glass. I have no indication as to whether or not this is the place I am looking for. A small woman opens the door and asks me if I am looking for someone in particular. She points around the office to a hidden hallway. "All the way to the end."
The hall overlooks the first floor, open and spacious and full of windows. The ceiling is higher than me, on the third floor. I am dollying past a lineup of spaces on my left as I walk towards the end: two casual offices, three empty but in-progress art studios in different media, an open space with hanging print works, and finally the room at the end of the hall, behind glass.
I am told the construction on this floor is to build a science laboratory. This news nearly overshadows my reasoning for being here at all. I wonder how I can get involved with the lab. I wonder what kind of research, in this arts-converted multimedia building, would be happening in the main space where the elevators open. Is science moving into the art studio as a way of balancing feasibility? Fostering creativity? The past's "research utopia" of Bell Labs is known to be gone today, replaced by the surges of creative startup companies and expanding corporate megacomplexes to provide communities wholly, like a Walden Two but if B.F. Skinner was looking to restructure corporate HR protocol instead of the idea of a village. Alternative collectives are needed to investigate the makeup and matter of knowledge as a toolkit for creating, and what is art but experimenting until arriving at a "solution" to what is or is not yet created?
To be the scientist, is one saying no to being an artist? Are these nouns to name a person with a task or are they titles to name the task for the person?
To give a name to your doing is to accept a title given to you by an authority, to choose a title to suit your idea, or the result of rejecting alternatives.
A) You are hired as a scientist.
B) You call yourself a scientist.
C) You reject calling yourself an artist, engineer, or other title that is not 'scientist.'
Does A imply that B and C must follow?
Or does B imply that A and C would follow?
And is C a voluntary choice independent of A and B, or an involuntary reaction to A and B?
A job is not the same as work is not the same as a career is not the same as one's craft or one's talent or one's hobby or one's pleasure. To be interdisciplinary is to have many selves to take care of, to not only feed your one body but to portion out your time, energy, and social ties to the different worlds. To be interdisciplinary is a science of ambition and ability. Interdisciplinary implies an art formed by priorities.