Havidol and creative interaction

14 May

It’s Havidol— the cure for all that ails modern society! Though it looks like a real ad, it’s actually Justine Coopers art, a whole campaign that’s a fascinating commentary on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising. Yes, we all want to feel our best, and we’d love it if a pill could do that for us.

Justine spoke on Monday afternoon at a regional event in NYC, co-sponsored by the National Association of Science Writers and CUNY Science & the Arts. Her Havidol project (and her current project about medical simulations) have these wonderful layers. The design itself is slick, the irony is uncanny, and there’s even an interactive component. Yes, people have emailed to ask her how to both get this drug and publications have asked her about whether she’d like to buy advertising pages.

Her presentation left me with a lot to chew on about my own work, particularly this interactive piece. I love the level of depth and irony that she’s able to achieve, and her drive to involve her audience in what she’s doing. The internet is a wonderful tool for making art participatory, and that probably is an overarching goal of blogging for almost anyone. But part of finding that interactive piece is finding where you want to meet people. What nerves do you want to hit? What messages do you want them to think about?

It’s now day 14 of the May blog-a-thon, and I’m slowly getting glimmers of answers to those questions for myself. The more I post, the more I learn about what I want to say. The more feedback I get, the more I learn about that interactive piece. But, until this week, I hadn’t really wrapped my mind about the internet as a new artistic medium– like paints or clay or paper. Coming to writing from science, I’m still learning how to do preliminary “play”– throwing around words and seeing what happens (we should be very happy that chemists carefully plan safe experiments). This blog is a canvas, a hunk of clay, a theatre piece that I’m workshopping.

I don’t believe in the art and science divide: they’re both highly creative endeavors. It’s the approaches that are truly different, at least in my world. And I’m having fun getting in touch with my inner artist.

4 Responses to “Havidol and creative interaction”

  1. Michelle Rafter May 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    I’ve never thought of a blog as a canvas before or even an artform, thanks for the insight.

    Michelle Rafter

  2. Nancy Zacks June 25, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    Hi Sarah,

    I like your blog. As a science and technical writer, I was trained to make sure that everything is correct before it is published! This is what makes blogging so interesting, and also a bit scary! I can see how it opens up a space for collaborative progess, just like science!



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