Sunday, April 24, 2016

Unit 4: Medicine + Technology + Art

Growing up, my aunt would constantly take us to museums all around Los Angeles, and my absolute favorite one was, and still is, the California Science Center. To me, art, medicine, and technology have always been intertwined. 
(California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA.)

In professor Vesna's second lecture, she discusses how medical technologies, like X-ray, MRI, and CAT scan, are forms of art. I work in a doctor's office, and we have both a MRI and X-ray machine. I have been there 5 years, and I still get excited to view the images produced, because I consider them works of art. In her paper, Silva Casini explains that MRI scans are essentially self portraits. Much like art, MRI scans go deeper than surface level, and they are open to interpretation: they look novel to each person who views them. 

(MRI brain cartographies) 

The lecture also mentions that years ago, medicine was considered art because physicians who used tools or technology weren't considered doctors. I believe that medicine is an art, and that physicians are both doctors and artists. Take plastic surgery for instance, plastic surgeons reconstruct and mold parts of the body, they use the human body, like artists use a canvas. Going even deeper, medical procedures are in themselves performance art. Physicians perform with the utmost precision and beauty, that is aesthetically stunning. The body performance art Orlan creates is a perfect example of how surgical performances are art. Her objective was to represent the visions of beauty created by various artists throughout history. Through medical procedures and technology, Orlan herself became a work of art. 

(Photograph of Orlan, indicating what parts of the face she used from each work of art. ) 

As professor Vesna states, human dissection is at the intersection of art and science. I believe Gunther von Hagen's Body Worlds exhibition, flawlessly embodies this intersection. He displays human anatomy, by preserving and displaying biological tissue through plastination. His work is not only amazingly beautiful, but it also evokes great emotion, and is quite intriguing. Much like art, medical technologies, like plastination, MRI, and X-ray, are allowing us to see inside of ourselves, to see who we really are.

(Gunther von Hagen's beautiful piece.)

Casini, S. "Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as Mirror and Portrait: MRI Configurations between Science and the Arts." Configurations 19.1 (2011): 73-99. Project MUSE. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. 

Jameson, Elizabeth. "Brain Cartographies." Image. Artspan. N.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.  

Orlan. "The Reincarnation of Saint-Orlan." Photograph. Thisisnotanart. 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. Staff. California Science Center. Digital image. 10 Oct. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2016

Vesna, Victoria. "Medicine pt1." Cole UC online. YouTube, 21 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. "Medicine pt2." Cole UC online. YouTube, 21 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. "Medicine pt3." Cole UC online. YouTube, 22 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. 

Von Hagen, Gunther. Man Playing Chess. Digital image. Gettyimages. 2006. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. 

Wikipedia contributors. "Gunther von Hagens." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Apr. 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Unit 3: Robotics + Art

Growing up, the SciFi realm has always fascinated me, and it was quite exciting to learn more about it's history. In this week's lectures, Professor Vesna discusses the numerous ways art has influenced technology, robotics, and the science behind them. Karel Capek's play, R.U.R, introduced and popularized the word "robot." His beautiful creativity directly influenced many scientists today, and without him, "cyborgs" as we know them today would not exist. The most notable influence of art on technology can be seen in the movie Back to the Future Part II. The film has inspired many companies like Nike and Hendo, that have recreated products from the movie. One of the biggest influences can be seen in regards to drones, or as some would say "flying robots." The flying news camera in the movie has directly influenced the explosion of the drone market, and the current use of drones being used to film news footage. 

(News drone from Back to the Future Part II on top, modern day drone on the bottom.) 

I chose to focus on the topic of mass production, because I believe it greatly influences art and our lives. The first form of mass production came in the form of the printing press, brought over to the West by Johannes Gutenberg, 400 years after the Chinese had invented it. The printing press introduced the idea of the assembly line, and Henry Ford was the first to use this idea with regards to automobiles. In Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," he explains that the mass production of art destroys the idea of uniqueness, originality, or "aura" from that very work. After reading Benjamin's essay, I realized that he was right. Various original Marvel pieces by the legendary Stan Lee are now mass produced and sold at stores like Target and Walmart. The authenticity and creativity is taken out of these works, and they are turned into meaningless prints.

("Here Come the Heroes" Marvel piece, mass produced print that is now sold at Target.) 

Although I agree with Walter Benjamin's stance, I also believe that the aesthetically beautiful combination of robotics and art is one that has many more advantages than disadvantages for society. Industrialization was able to redefine the relationship of art and science, and society has responded very well to it. I believe this combination of robotics and art can be seen in what I believe is the biggest form of mass production: mass media. The art within SciFi movies have inspired scientists to create truly beneficial products, like the cellphone to flying drones. 

(Martin Cooper credited the Star Trek communicator as his inspiration for the design of the first mobile phone)

"26 years later: Predictions 'Back to the Future' got right and wrong." The Chive. N.p., 21 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. 

Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." New York: Schocken/Random House, 1936. Print. 

Pascale, Anthony. Dream Cheeky USD Star Trek Communicator fact sheet. Digital image. 9 Feb. 2009. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. 

Risen, Tom. "In 2015, The 'Future' Approaches." US News. US News, 23 Jan. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. 

Rouse, Margaret. "Drone." Internet of Things Agenda. TechTarget, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2016

Strauss, Mark. "Ten Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction." Smithsonian. Smithsonian, 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. 

"Marvel-Here Come the Heroes Poster." Target. Target, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. 

Vesna, Victoria. "Robotics pt1." Cole UC online. YouTube, 15 Apr. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. 

Vesna, Victoria. "Robotics pt2." Cole UC online. YouTube, 15 Apr. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Unit 2: Math + Art

Like professor Vesna, I had terrible math teachers growing up, and art class was my escape. My first art teacher in elementary school is one of the biggest reasons why I love art so much. Although art is not my major, I still consider myself an artist, and consider art a strong passion of mine. I have always known that art and mathematics work together, however this week's topic has really taught me how mathematics influences art and science. The lecture Math+Art discusses several mathematical concepts, such as geometry, linear perspective, and the golden ratio, that have influenced many artists and architects. Legendary Leonardo da Vinci distinguished two types of perspective, artificial and natural, that contribute to more realistic drawings. Historically, no one has fused math and art quite like da Vinci did. Linda Henderson discusses the significance of mathematical and scientific theories in art, particularly how important Einstein's relativity theory and non-Euclidean geometry was in the development of modern art. Flatland taught me that math and art do not only describe the physical world, but their combination can be used to understand higher dimensions. 

(Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" demonstrating linear perspective.)

M.C. Escher combines math and art beautifully, which can be demonstrated in his wood engraving stars. He created this truly amazing piece by intersecting geometric shapes and placing chameleons inside those shapes to create art that is not only visually interesting, but is also admired by mathematicians everywhere because of his flawless incorporation of math. 

(M.C. Escher's "Stars" demonstrating the beautiful combination of math and art.) 

Professor Vesna throughly discusses da Vinci's Vitruvian man, which incorporates the Golden Ratio. Vitruvian man is based on the ideal of human proportions in relation to geometry and architecture. This drawing and way of thinking influenced many artists and architects, like Charles-Edouard Jeanneret who used the proportions of the human body to improve the appearance and function of architecture. 

(Charles-Edouard Jeanneret's "Villa Savoye.")
The juxtaposition of mathematics, art, and science is that they are different concepts. but they come together quite often to create beautiful works of art, and induce better understanding of one another. Modern technologies have further combined math and art in many different ways that are beneficial to society. Math influences art, and art influences mathematician's perspectives, allowing them to see things in a novel way. 

(Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man," the ultimate representation of the combination of mathematics, art, and science.) 

Abbott, Edwin. "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions." N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2016. 
Bradley, Darren. "Villa Savoye." Photograph. Modernist Architecture. Blogspot, 17 Jul. 2013. Web. 8 Apr. 2016. 
Da Vinci, Leonardo. "Last Supper." Image. Nianicolesw. Wordpress, 18 Mar. 2014. Web. 8 Apr. 2016.
Escher, MD. "Stars." Photograph. Math Academy. 1948. Web. 8 Apr. 2016. 
Henderson, Linda. "The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art: Conclusion." Leonardo. 17.3 (1984): 205-210. Print. 
Vesna, Victoria. "" Cole UC online. YouTube, 9 Apr. 2012. Web. 8 Apr. 2016. 
Wikipedia contributors. "Leonardo da Vinci." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 Apr. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2016. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week 1: Two Cultures

I have seen this separation of the two cultures all throughout my life, and have been influenced by them tremendously. C.P. Snow proposed this theory of the two cultures in his 1959 lecture on art and science, where he indicated the separation was between literary intellectuals and natural scientists. Being that I am a psychology major, this divide is quite evident in my academic life. Although I will graduate with a bachelor of arts in psychology, my four years of undergraduate education have included vast courses on neuroscience and biology. At UCLA, Psychology majors are the only students who have core classes in both north (humanities) and south (sciences) campus. 
(Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, North Campus, UCLA) 
                                                                          (Court of Sciences, South Campus, UCLA)

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, but both my parents were born in Iran. I grew up intertwined in both American and Iranian culture, both of which vastly differ from one another. Although they are different, they are similar in the sense that this two culture divide is present in both.
(Representation of my two cultures together)

Today, the line of division in the two cultures is blurred, as many artists are currently engaged in the world of technology and science. However, Stephen Wilson mentions that this influence is not a two way street, and many scientists engage in "the classical worlds of art, theatre, and music but do not see art as relevant to their professional work as researcher." Bohm explains that in actuality, artists and scientists are not so different, both feeling "a fundamental need to discover and create something new that is whole and total, harmonious and beautiful" (138). 
(Book by Eliane Strosberg that discusses the intersection of art and science, and 
the impact this intersection has on society)

Prior to this week, I had never thought about the integration of art and science together, or aware of how significant their combination was in my life. After reading and viewing the materials for this week, I began imagining a third culture. I also reflected on the combination of the various "two cultures" in my own life. Separate from the third culture C.P. Snow introduced, this third culture of technology increases opportunities, communication, and expression. I believe that is everyone utilized the apparatus of the third culture, they would be able to master their particular skill, have knowledge of other skills, and ultimately create new ideas that benefit all aspects of society.
(Einstein's Art And Science by Clary Meserve) 

A'Garous, Seoren. United States Flag and Iran Flag. Digital image. 7 Aug. 2014. Web. 2 Apr. 2016.
Archinect. UCLA Court of Sciences Student Center. Photograph. N.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2016.
Bohm, D. "On Creativity." Leonardo 1.2 (1968): 137-149. Print.
Fowler Museum. Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden. Photograph. N.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2016.
Kelly, Kevin. "The Third Culture." Science 279.5353 (1998): 992-993. Print.
Meserve, Clary. “Einstein’s Art and Science.” Painting. Fine Art America. Art, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 2 Apr. 2016.
Snow, C. P. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. New York: Cambridge UP, 1959. Print.
Strosberg, Eliane. Art and Science. New York: Abbeville Press, 2001. Print.
Vesna, Victoria. "Toward a Third Culture: Being In Between." Leonardo 34.2 (2001): 121-125. Print.
Wilson, Stephen. “Myths and Confusions in Thinking about Art/Science/Technology.”San Francisco State University. N.p., 2000. Web. 28 March 2016.