One of the effects of the PARC Artist In Residence (PAIR) program has been to expose the strong connections between scientists and artists. Both do what they do because they need to do it. They are often called upon to justify their work in order to be allowed to continue to do it. They need to justify it to funders, to sponsoring institutions, corporations, the government, the public. They publish papers, teach workshops, and write grants touting the educational or health benefits of what they do. All of these things are to some extent valid, but the fact of the matter is: artists and scientists do their work because they are driven to do it. They need to explore and create.
This chapter attempts to give a flavor of one multi-way "PAIRing" between performance artist PamelaZ and two PARC researchers, Michael Black and David Levy. The three of us paired up because we found each other interesting. We chose each other. While most artists in the program are paired with a single researcher Pamela jokingly calls herself a bigamist for choosing two PAIR "husbands" with different backgrounds and interests.
There are no "rules" to the PAIR program; no one told us what to do with our time. Despite this we all had a sense that we needed to produce something tangible during Pamela's year-long residency. In fact, Pamela kept extending her residency because she did not feel as though we had actually made anything concrete. The interesting thing was that all along we were having great conversations, some of which Pamela recorded. What we did not see at the time was that it was these conversations between artists and scientists that are at the heart of the PAIR program and that these conversations were changing the way we thought about our own work and the relationships between science and art.
To give these conversations their due, and to allow the reader into our PAIR interactions, we include two of our many conversations in this chapter.