Fellows in the News

Observation and Ecology author Rafe Sagarin discusses art and the environment with poet Eric Magrane from the University of Arizona.

Eric Magrane: Rafe, you write and speak about observation, most pointedly in your book Observation and Ecology, with Aníbal Pauchard. I’d like to discuss the way that observation interacts as a hinge between science—and particularly environmental science—as a way of seeing and understanding the world, and art as a way of seeing.

Rafe Sagarin: Absolutely. Observation is at the core of so many things we do, especially art and science. It’s almost so much at the core of science that it’s forgotten how important it is. The primacy that observation has to everything that we know—we’ve almost gotten too clever by half and think we could skip that deep observational step. Of course, all artists implicitly understand that they need to be really good observers of the world first, before they can start translating those observations to something they can appreciate. Sometimes in science we drill down way too far too fast before we understand observationally the whole context of what we’re looking at.

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