Message from the Dean Message from the Dean

The French writer Gustave Flaubert once said: “Science and art break up at the foot of the mountain and meet at the summit.”

Many well-known scholars in modern times have expressed similar sentiments, for ultimately, the scientific and humanistic spirits are unified.

Yet the practice of art and science today are not just unified in their ultimate concerns, but also in the the cross-fusion of their practical approaches.

We have seen that creativity and art are first intimately coupled with information science, while new media art presented with a large number of digital images has become the present era’s creative mainstream. This is a subversion of the mode of presentation of traditional art, and also a great practice for driving artistic innovation with technical thinking. It will usher in even more unknown yet exciting changes, particularly with respect to the penetration and expansion of artificial intelligence, the relationship between art and individuals, as well as imminent breakthroughs in imagination and creativity.

We have further seen that the advancementin material science will have an even more substantial impact on creativity and art. This represents not only a revolution in artistic media and methods, but along with 3D printing, smart manufacturing and other technological leaps, will also catalyze the adjoining of art and industry, and of art and people’s lifestyles, with their interaction and synergy potentially giving rise to epoch-making creativity, products and industries.

We have also seen, even further into the future, that the rapid advancement of life sciences as well as breakthroughs in neuroscience, genetic engineering and other cutting-edge fields may potentially yield entirely new biology or even forms of life. As we embark on the journey of exploration for new functions and species, we will also examine the meaning of beauty more profoundly.

Therefore, based today in the broad and rigorous scientific research and education foundation of ShanghaiTech University, the School of Creativity and Art is determined to be a distinguished and better type of school. For us, science and technology are not just artistic tools, but also thoughts and genes.  Using science and technology as a starting point, we are reorganizing and innovating a series of core disciplines while gradually cultivating and providing key support to a group of incubation laboratories for creative technologies, thereby striving to promote ShanghaiTech University as a unique benchmark in this emerging field.

In fact, science and art today no longer break up at the foot of the mountain. Instead, they climb up the rugged path of human civilization side by side, revealing the beauty of life and wisdom with each step! 

Ruigang Li
Dean of School of Creativity and Art