Monday, May 30, 2016

Event 5 - Dr. Gekelman 'Fourth State of Matter'

Dr. Walter Gekelman, a researcher and foremost expert into the workings of plasma, inspired a group of students to create an art gallery based on one of the intrinsic properties of plasma; entropy. His talk to us about The Fourth State of Matter was all about the unique characteristics of plasma. Plasma is created by giving enough energy to an atom that the electrons become hyper excited and dissociate and reassociate with the atom spontaneously. This unstable state of matter only lasts for a billionth of a second at a time, but Dr. Gekelman considers this "a long time." His lab is more advanced and uses more energy than the entire city of Westwood combined, so he has the opportunity to stay away from "cool plasma" which is around 12 million degrees Celsius, and he is able to work with hotter and longer lasting plasma at a cozier 300 million degrees Celsius.

The data and numbers Dr. Gekelman is forced to work with are crazy, and requires extremely precise materials and intruments. And with this kind of dedication to the fourth state of matter, he inspired the UCLA Art Science Undergraduate Society to expand on a major characteristic of plasma; entropy. Entropy is the amount of disorder in a system or environment, and following suit the exhibit was titled Nonlinear Perspectives. And the different visions of entropy created a very unique collection of art pieces that had many profound meanings and interpretations.

This piece delved into the disorder of                 This piece saw a man figure in the center
the mind. The face is calm and but the                of a thunder storm. Depicting a human's
mind is in a state of disorder. The piece              condition as disordered and unpredictable.
is planned to have a set of faces which               The piece was interactive and the viewer
expresses the disorder through facial                  could move the lightning around leading
features in a time-lapsed order.                           to an endless amount of disorder possibilities.

This piece was a gif of a math function                        This piece was a set of three that
that gave a multidimensional structure                         portrayed the disorder of a life from
as its solution. The function was a chaotic                   infancy to adolescence, and into late
system, so it is highly variable based on                      adulthood. Each painting gets more
the initial conditions and can only be                           disordered with its relevant depiction of
predicted in the short term.                                           an age group, and forms a cyclic piece                                                                                         to allude to the circle of life.


 Gekelman, Walter. "Fourth State of Matter." Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous. UCLA, Westwood. 19 May 2016. Lecture.

 Humboldt State University. "Atmospheric Absorption & Transmission." GSP 216 Introduction to Remotes Sensing. Humboldt State Geospatial Online, 2015. Web. 24 May 2016.

 HyperPhysics. "Nuclear Fusion." Nuclear Fusion. HyperPhysics. Web. 24 May 2016.

 Nonlinear Perspective. Dir. UCLA Art Science Undergraduate Society. UCLA, Westwood. 19 May 2016. Performance. 

Event 4 - Toni Dove

Toni Dove operating her interactive media
We had a chance to visit with contemporary artist Toni Dove, and we were briefed on her latest projects which involve interactive media. All scrubbing of videos and intensity of sound is controlled from a split screen motion capture camera, and immerses the active viewer without the need for clunky equipment. Her latest work incorporates human position to switch between different character states and perspectives such as: the character's mind, a second person's view, a trance/dream-like states, and from an overall timeline depending on how close to the screen one stands.

Soarin' Over California attraction at California Adventures
Virtual Reality platform
This type of cinema reminded me of interactive rides and attractions at amusement parks, such as the Star Wars attraction in Disneyland and Soarin' Over California in California Adventures. The Star Wars attraction fits passengers into a small shuttle lifted on a hydraulic system and uses a tilting axis to match the video's motion and create the illusion that the 'spaceship' riders are sitting in is moving around in outer space. Similarly, the free hanging attraction Soarin' Over California uses fans and moveable suspended seats to create the illusion that riders are paragliding over different parts of California. But even these rides are considered passive now with the influx of virtual reality.

Video Games are beginning to take on a new dimension in reality immersion. Virtual reality is used in anything from flight simulation and war combat, to casual gaming and bike training. It provides a virtual environment full of programmed conditions that many would be unable to experience outside of the simulator. In an attempt to create the most accurate virtual experience, some simulation companies have even gone so far as to create a 360 degree scree, a 360 degree treadmill, and the option to hook up paintball guns around the user that can fire from any direction to simulate real gun fire. This is currently the pinnacle of immersive and interactive media, but how long until this form of media is the norm and we have an even more immersive platform for experiencing new realities.
First person shooter game simulator

Myself meeting Toni Dove
after her guest lecture

Dove, Toni. "Toni Dove Blog." BUSTLELAMP. 22 Nov. 2014. Web 25 Apr. 2016.

Laser: Toni Dove Exhibition. Cond. Toni Dove. UCLA, Westwood. 21 Apr. 2016. Performance.

Hutchins, Raine. "The Ultimate Battlefield 3 Simulator - Taking Gaming To a New Level." GamerFront RSS. 18 Oct 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

Kelion, Leo. "Omni Virtual Reality Game Controller Secures Kickstarter Cash." BBC News. 07 June 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

Tsang, Maxine. "Week 9: Soarin' Over California." DH101 Fall 2014. 01 Dec. 2014. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

Thegadgetshow. "Ultimate Battlefield 3 Simulator - Build & Test (Full Video) - The Gadget Show." YouTube. YouTube, 24 Oct. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 9 - Space & Art

Space and media have always shared close ties to one another. The media seeks to fascinate its audience, and space already has that effect on people to begin with. Shows like Star Trek and Star Wars have spread the idea around that there could be other planets with life on them and we may one day have the technology to communicate with other planets or even turn our galaxy into a community of worlds that we can travel between. But with our currently overpopulated world with limited resources, this is a real topic of discussion for scientists and theorists alike.

Matt Damon in The Martian colonizing mars by planting potatoes
Movies like Interstellar and The Martian are centered around this predicament we are currently in and present outer space as a solution to this ever worsening problem. But how likely is finding another world that we could settle, establish a colony, and actually live on? 

N = R_{\ast} \cdot f_p \cdot n_e \cdot f_{\ell} \cdot f_i \cdot f_c \cdot L
Drake's Equation

A man by the name of Dr. Frank Drake decided to look into this life-long question that so many people have found themselves pondering, and created an equation to estimate the number of active extraterrestrial civilizations in the universe. His equation has seven parameters and includes any rationale from fraction of formed stars that have planets, to fraction of those planets that have developed life, to average rate of star formation in our galaxy. This is the closest theory that has been thought up which estimates the number of life sustaining planets. There are 10 million, million, million suns (10 to the 18th power), one in a million suns having planets around them, and one in a million million having the right combination of chemicals, temperature, water, and day cycles to support planetary life. With all of this data, Dr. Drake has estimated that there are around 100 million worlds in the universe where life can potentially exist. In the Milky Way alone, there is estimated to be about 10,000 worlds with life on it. This seems like a remarkable find, and if we are able to communicate with these other life forms or even colonize viable planets, this could be a major solution to our current population strain.
The Milky Way Galaxy

In a world where space is quickly running out and resources are beginning to dwindle, space exploration might be the next step in finding humans a new home. And Drake's equation might be one of the most important equations we as a species have discovered.


 Drake, Frank. "The Drake Equation." SETI Institute. 2016. Web. 29 May 2016.

Fox, Steve. "Nine Real NASA Technologies in 'The Martian'" NASA. NASA, 19 Aug. 2015. Web. 29 May 2016.

Harris, William. "What Are the Odds There Is Life in Outer Space?" HowStuffWorks., 11 Aug. 2008. Web. 29 May 2016.

Jarmer, Michael. "The-milky-way." Michael Jarmer. 08 Dec. 2015. Web. 29 May 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. "Space & Art." Desma 9 - Week 9. UCLA, Westwood. 29 May 2016. Lecture. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 8 - Nanotechnology and Art

Nanoparticle boxed delivery
As a premed, I am always interested in learning about new medical technologies and what the future of medicine could hold. So of course, I was particularly interested in the new nanomedicine and nanotherapies that Dr. James Gimzewski referred to in the lectures. He spoke of configurable nanoparticles that can change formation or orientation depending on the medium (i.e. the "box particle" that can be closed outside of solution with nanoparticles held within, or opened to release these particles in a particular medium). There is a huge potential to find use for nanoparticles in drug transport and diseased cell locating. Which could make cellular treatment far more effective. These abstract ideas take a certain artistic vision and scientific know-how to come together just right in order to create a marvelous revolution in a given field of study.

Nanodiamond cancer delivery system
I was reminded of Mick Lorusso's work on nanodiamonds, whereby he's looking to do just that; to help create a nanodiamond transport system for certain cancer drugs. These diamonds are selectively permeable across cellular membranes of diseased cells, and congregate at damaged cells to diffuse into the cell and release their effective drugs. It's fascinating to me how something natural that is typically known for its beauty is being used on a microscopic level as a drug transmitter. The list of treatments these types of processes can influence is extensive, and it takes the right kind of collaboration to come up with such a concept. But when brilliant minds can come together, we may soon have these cutting edge treatments and technologies at our fingertips.
Nanoparticle drug delivery particle


 Gibney, Michael. "Dual-surface Janus Nanoparticle Offers Cancer Diagnosis, Drug Delivery." Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 22 May 2016.

 Gimzewski, James. "Nanotech Jim Pt5." YouTube. 21 May 2012. Web. 22 May 2016.

 Lorusso, Mick. "NanoDiamonds." Week 2 Honors 177 Seminar. UCLA, Westwood. 07 Apr. 2016. Lecture. 
 Mochalin, Vadym N., Olga Shenderova, Dean Ho, and Yury Gogotsi. "The Properties and Applications of Nanodiamonds : ..." Nature Nanotechnology. Macmillan Publishers Limited, 18 Dec. 2011. Web. 10 Apr. 2016
 Wang, Brian. "DNA Boxes Could Deliver Drugs." Nanoparticle Drug Delivery. 06 May 2009. Web. 22 May 2016. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Event 3 - Leap Before You Look

A brief history and mission statement from Black
Mountain College. (taken at the Hammer Museum)
After listening to the poets from Black Mountain College talk at the Hammer Museum, I wanted to learn more about Black Mountain College's culture and impact from 1933 to 1957. The school was formed as an interdisciplinary liberal arts college giving most attention to the humanities and arts. The exhibit Leap Before You Look showcased many pieces of art and literature that captured the essence of Black Mountain College. Even the name of the exhibit captured the mindset of the driven students and faculty that worked at this revolutionary campus. Many scholars congregated at this newly forming college when the mission statement included no deans, administration, or comparable pay. These scholars joined Black Mountain College's campus without any safety net, and with no idea which direction the school would be taken in. With only a drive to learn and collaborate, Black Mountain College opened its doors to all races, genders, and scholarly backgrounds. Located in North Carolina during a time of heavy segregation and low social rights, this type of referendum turned heads.
Both students and faculty working on school
improvements. (taken at the Hammer Museum)

The school attracted many scholars in the humanities and arts, which happens to work out nicely for displaying historical pieces in a museum. The school's liberal arts education was a huge step in the right direction for accepting different types of students and scholarly fields into a collegiate environment. Many principles of the liberal arts education today stems heavily from this school, such as an equal emphasis on all subjects instead of a disproportionate emphasis on math and sciences. Following student passions was key to this educational philosophy, and it's a shame that we didn't take away more meaning from Black Mountain College's operation.

Paintings inspired by social and political issues
of the time. (taken at the Hammer Museum)

I also bought my sister some chocolate at the
gift shop as a thank you for tagging along.
(taken at the Hammer Museum)


Davidson, Michael, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Duncan McNaughton, and Michael Palmer. "Poetry - The Kinetics." Black Mountain College's Literary Descendents. Hammer Museum, Westwood. 14 Apr. 2016. Reading.

"Black Mountain College." State Archives of North Carolina: Natural and Cultural Resources. State Archives North Carolina. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

"Hammer Readings - Poetry: The Kinetics - Black Mountain College's Literary Descendants." The Hammer Museum. One Long House, 14 Apr. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

Changeling. Dir. Merce Cunningham. Chor. Polly Motley. Hammer Museum, Westwood. 16 Apr. 2016. Performance.
Leap Before You Look. Curator: Helen Molesworth. Hammer Museum, Westwood. 16 Apr. 2016. Exhibit. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Week 7 - Neuroscience & Art

The Milky Way Galaxy
The human brain is one of the most intricate hard wire networks of the natural world. We have over 100 billion neurons in the brain; that's 10^9 nerve cells packed into our skulls! To put that into perspective, there are about 300 billion stars in the milky way galaxy! Through newfound techniques like neuron mapping and "brainbow" mapping, we can see exactly how expansive the neuron connective network really is. The interconnected nature of neurons makes it one of the fastest processors we know of. Our human minds can process data and make
"Brainbow" imaging of a single brain fold
connections to other topics and information very efficiently. This is due to the physiology of our neural network. Each neuron in the brain is connected to a multitude of other neurons, processing data simultaneously, and firing an action potential to the proper neurons with great precision. This means each cell can process data independently of other cells, so our brain can multitask very well. This is how we can make decisions and think of ideas very quickly with a slow "buffering" time.

IBM's Watson winning the jeopardy championship 
Computers work differently, by using a circuit network. The network is similar, but is more linear, and each "decision" must be made separately before moving on to process the next piece of data. But technology has come a long way, and IBM has pushed this boundary of processing ability to a new level with the creation of "Watson." IBM has set up a circuit network of about 10 trillion circuits which is equivalent to a 10^11 neural network. With this raw processing power, IBM's Watson has been able to sweep away the competition by being able to quickly compile the important information out of data and come up with the most reasonable decision. While this feat of creating a hyper intelligent computer is impressive, what I find most impressive is that it took a computer with 100 times the processing power to outperform humans consistently. This means our natural processing is more powerful and more efficient than even the world's leading super computer! Not too bad for a population that relies on computers for so many daily operations as Frazzetto and Anker's Neuroculture presents. They go on to show how our culture depends on these artificial neural networks for film, literature, television, visual arts, education, and entertainment. But our brain is still a better multi-tasker and we have the ability to think with more efficiency and clarity than a supercomputer. So maybe we're selling ourselves short on a day to day basis.


 Center for Brain Science. "Brainbow." Center for Brain Science. Harvard University, 2010. Web. 12 May 2016.

 Frazzetto, Giovanni, and Suzanne Anker. "Neuroculture." Nature Reviews Neuroscience Nat Rev Neurosci 10.11 (2009): 815-21. Web. 12 May 2016. 

IBM. "What Is IBM Watson?" IBM Watson. IBM, 15 Aug. 2015. Web. 12 May 2016.

Jesusmrv. "IBM Watson and Cognitive Data as the Future of Information Data Systems." Jrodthoughts. 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 12 May 2016.

Pro Documentary. "IBM Watson: Smartest Machine Ever Built - Documentary." YouTube. YouTube, 18 Dec. 2014. Web. 11 May 2016.

Uconlineprogram. "" YouTube. YouTube, 17 May 2012. Web. 12 May 2016. 

Voytek, Bradley. "Are There Really as Many Neurons in the Human Brain as Stars in the Milky Way?" Nature Publishing Group, 20 May 2013. Web. 12 May 2016.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 6 - Biotech & Art

DIY Bio emblem
The juxtaposition between the need for DIY biology, and the resentment society has for DIY scientists is unnecessarily absurd. Society thinks of home-scientists as mad-scientists and believes all experiments should be conducted in universities or research laboratories. But the people who have access to those kinds of facilities don't always have the same research intentions or aspirations as those being shut down at home. And the worst part is that scientific progression is hindered by the discrediting of DIY scientists.

Steve Kurtz's home being raided by FBI bioterror agents
For example, Steve Kurtz was working on genetically modified agriculture for his own research and for a museum exhibit, but had all of his research, materials, and experiments seized from him on suspicion of bioterrorism. He was considered a criminal and taken to jail by the FBI before the investigation even began. Instead of treating him as a professor in collaboration with other scientists (which he was), he was treated as a biohacker. This segued nicely into Chris Kelty's Meanings of Participation: Outlaw Biology. In this essay, Kelty speaks of the difference between outlaws, hackers, and the victorian gentlemen in regards to DIY biology. The victorian gentlemen were described as scientists with access to any technology and a mastered knowledge on their researched subject matter. The real discrepancy comes between the hackers and the outlaws. The hackers are described as groups of people trying to control a system that they understand well. This has no benefit to society because nothing is learned and nothing is taught to others. But outlaws are described as individuals who try out new things and share what they learn with others. Unlike the hackers, outlaws have value to society due to their curiosity and craving to follow their unusual questions and hypothesis.

Scientific collaboration
Scientists like Steve Kurtz are outlaws; they follow their uniquely inquisitive minds, and share their results with other scientists in a collaborative manner. Society needs to understand the difference between terrorists and true DIY scientists. The DIY community has the chance to make a huge impact in many fields of science, and accepting these scientists is a huge step in letting the rate of science progression rise to it's real potential.


 BIOVIA Blog Team. "Scientific Collaboration All the Rage at Bio-IT 2016: Utilizing Butt and Digital Solutions - Blog." BIOVIA. 27 Apr. 2016. Web. 08 May 2016. 

 Engel, Oliver. "DIY Bio: The New Era of Biotechnology." SQ Online. 14 May 2014. Web. 08 May 2016.

Kelty, Chris. "Meanings of Participation: Outlaw Biology?" Journal of Science Communication (2010): 1-8. ISSN 1824 – 2049. Web. 08 May 2016.

Triscott, Nicola. "Reunions and Resistance – Critical Art Ensemble." Nicola Triscott: Art, Science, Technology & Society. 04 Oct. 2011. Web. 08 May 2016.

Regine. "DIYsect. A Series about the DIY Biology & Biology-Art Intersection." We Make Money Not Art. 20 Mar. 2015. Web. 08 May 2016.

Uconlineprogram. "5 BioArt Pt4." YouTube. YouTube, 17 May 2012. Web. 08 May 2016. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Week 4 - Medicine, Technology, and Art

Body modification taken to the extreme
Medicine is an ever expanding field, and with the recent increase in body modifications, the realm of medical technology and art is continuing to grow. The particulars of body modification can range from implants, to injections, to removing sections of tissue, and everything in between. The human art modification I'll be looking into is the recent trend in physique modification; particularly with the use of drugs. Media has done a great job at promoting a pristine and statuesque model for what the perfect male and female body should look like. Aside from mental insecurities for anyone outside of this 1% of model humans, this often drives people to desperate measures to attain these glorified physiques.

Cartoon exhibiting body dysmorphia
From an artistic perspective, we can view someone trying to change their body as a type of art; with the person as the artist and the artwork at the same time. For example, we can look at a bodybuilder as a sculptor; with their body as their own living and ever changing sculpture. They are using their own body to represent the way they wish to be viewed by any given audience. In this sense, the person has changed their physiology to be interpreted by others in a brand new way. Sounds like art to me. However, the scary side to this type of body modification comes with the diseases and medicine associated with extreme cases of body modification.

Statistics on body dysmorphia

Diseases like bulimia, anorexia, and body dysmorphia are more prevalent than ever in children, teenagers, and young adults. During these critical periods in life, people learn how to form friendships and how to fit in with their respective crowds. However, social broadcasting hinders people from thinking of themselves with utmost confidence. This lack of self confidence or a sense of ones' self lacking value can push people to the extreme and experiment with drugs to help obtain results.

Drugs like metabolism boosters, fat burners, and hormonal therapies are coincidentally trending higher in usage along with the increase in dysmorphic diseases. Which shows that these people are seeking out extreme methods to "cure" themselves from originality to become another idolized extreme physique in society.

These drugs ruin a person's internal homeostasis, and can have serious long term effects on health. But despite the risk, there is still a huge draw to having one of these extreme body types, and people will stop at nothing to make it their reality.


 Brooks, Peter. "Pumping Iron Documentary - Arnold Schwarzenegger." YouTube. YouTube, 31 Dec. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

Carvajal, Andres. "Body Dysmorphic Disorder." PositiveMed. 16 May 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

 Diaz, Jesus. "Woman With Most Extreme Body Modifications Just Got Even More Extreme." Gizmodo. Allure Media, 4 Feb. 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

Retina, Melinda, M.D. "Diet Pills, Prescription Weight Loss Drugs, Appetite Suppressants." WebMD. WebMD, 04 Apr. 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. 

 University of California, Los Angeles. "Why the Mirror Lies: Individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder See Their Own Faces Differently." 1 Feb. 2010. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

UConlineprogram. "Medicine Pt3." YouTube. 22 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Event 2 - Poetry: The Kinetics – Black Mountain College’s Literary Descendants

Black Mountain College in its minimalistic entirety
This past Thursday I stopped by the Hammer Museum to listen to a few students from Black Mountain College pay homage to their pride and joy. They are all acclaimed scholars in the field of literature and poetry, but their messages pervade art and science the same. The four speakers present were: Michael Davidson, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Duncan McNaughton, and Michael Palmer. The one speaker that stood out the most to me was Michael Davidson. He was the first speaker, and gave a history on Black Mountain College. He explained how the pillars of the school included an interdisciplinary approach to studies, it furnished individual initiative, and required community service and engagement. These pillars were meant to mold Black Mountain students into a well-rounded and engaged member of society. He described a college where the faculty was hardly differentiated from the students, and there was no administration. The pay was minimal, and the students and teachers were expected to learn from one another in a holistic approach to education. The school mainly furnished studies in the overarching field of Humanities, but welcomed scholars from any field who wished to collaborate with the great young minds of this liberal arts college.

He read aloud two poems, one by Robert Duncan entitled, "Often I am Permitted to Return to a Meadow," and another by Robert Creeley entitled, "The Immortal Proposition." The first had to do with sensation, using provocative language to have the reader see, feel, smell, taste, and hear the happenings at this enchanted meadow. Nature is hailed as the immaculate setting in this work, and the sensation of nature is quantified through the poem. This type of physical reality is what many scientists work to improve on, but in this poem, nature is praised to have the utmost potential for us to explore and "return to" it's perfection whenever we'd like. Science tries to copy and then enhance these experiences to appease our over-expectant standards, such as taking a natural herbal remedy and and extracting a powerful drug from it, but this is unnecessary according to Duncan's view of nature. In stark contrast, "The Immoral Proposition" took an internal and more philosophical position on activity. It petitions everyone to set aside egos or predispositions in order to work toward a common goal. This seemed like an even more applicable topic when dealing with elitist scientists and exclusive artists. The possibilities when these two types scholars come together are boundless, and looking back, this was the exact message Black Mountain College longed to instill in their students; to inspire a subject expansive network of scholars collaborating for the common good.
Brochure and poem
handout at the event
Introduction to the panel of speakers taken at the event
Ticket stub at the event


Creeley, Robert, and René Laubiès. The Immoral Proposition. Karlsruhe-Durlach/Baden: Jargon, 1953. Print.

Davidson, Michael, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Duncan McNaughton, and Michael Palmer. "Poetry - The Kinetics." Black Mountain College's Literary Descendents. Hammer Museum, Westwood. 14 Apr. 2016. Reading.

Duncan, Robert. The Opening of the Field: Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow. New York: Grove, 1960. Print.

"Black Mountain College." State Archives of North Carolina: Natural and Cultural Resources. State Archives North Carolina. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

"Hammer Readings - Poetry: The Kinetics - Black Mountain College's Literary Descendants." The Hammer Museum. One Long House, 14 Apr. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Week 3 - Robotics&Art

A workshop in China for mass
producing various artwork

Society typically welcomes industrialization and the factory style commodification of goods. This lowers prices and makes products more accessible to the masses. But this can also lower the quality and intrinsic value of the product. With respect to art, industrialization is scorned for its devaluing effect, and the anonymity it gives to each piece of art that flies out of the soulless warehouses and into the commercial markets. Walter Benjamin said it best, "Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be" (Benjamin, Section 3). Art has always
Cartoon referencing Heraclitus' famous proverb
thrived on the qualitative value given to it by the artist. The substance of the piece is always in direct relation to the era's society and the artist's personal or emotional state. It reminds me of the old adage, "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man" (Goodreads). Every brush stroke, every drop that hits the canvas, even if they were unintended, gives the piece meaning.
It's the artist's thoughts, intentions, and emotions being immortalized in a work of art that transcends the idea of a simple picture or work; and this expression of said intangibles in a timeless piece is what makes true art. By trying to recreate a timeless piece, we are actually destroying that piece's significance. It stands for much more than the visible image, so by simply copying the image onto another sheet of canvas, we are shedding the art's real significance.

Japanese robots are manufactured to look as real as possible
When we study a more joint field between art and technology, such as robotics, we realize that the societal view is different from culture to culture. Both east and west accept the use of robotics in subservient positions, but cringe at the thought of artificial intelligence. These feelings range from angry factory workers being replaced by robotics, to paranoia over personal assistant robots one day taking over the world such as in the acclaimed film I, Robot. The main difference and debate over new "humanoid" robots is how "human" a robot should look. China and Japan push for a human-looking robot to allow for warmer acceptance of robots in day-to-day life; while westerners believe a more distinct visual discrepancy is necessary to remind the public of the paramount differences robots have from humans. As time progresses, it seems likely that robotics will be playing a larger role in both art and our everyday lives, and I'm anxious to see how this technology is incorporated into society.


 Balfelt, Kenneth A. "What Happens When Art Is Sold and Enters Commodification? Art as Free Floating Signifiers." Art Projects by Kenneth A Balfelt. 16 May 2001. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Benjamin, Walter, and J. A. Underwood. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. London: Penguin, 2008. Print.

"A Quote by Heraclitus." Goodreads. Goodreads Inc. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Gurney, James. "Gurney Journey: The Art of Copying." Gurney Journey: The Art of Copying. 21 July 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Kasahara, Machiko. "Robotics MachikoKusahara 1." YouTube. 14 Apr. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Linshi, Jack. "These Human Robots Will Haunt Your Nightmares." Time. Time Inc. Network, 24 June 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

I, Robot. Dir. Alex Proyas. Perf. Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, and Bruce Greenwood. 20th Century Fox, 2004. DVD.

 Raczkowski, Marek. "Marek Raczkowski Cartoons." #1 Heraclitus' Policeman. 17 May 2009. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Event 1 - Pinar Yoldas' Guest Lecture

Pacific Trash Vortex
Attending this guest lecture was the first instance I was able to understand what a profound impact art and science can have in tandem. Yoldas spoke of her work into ecosystem creation, and the research into environmental conservation, artistic design, and bioengineering of organisms and systems that could reside in a habitat as inhospitable as the Pacific Trash Vortex.

Yoldas' project delved into this new anthropocenic status our world and biosphere is residing in, and how our waste has created a new ecosystem in our deep oceans which Yoldas calls the "Plastosphere" (Yoldas, 4/5/16 Lecture). She took note of the devastation this waste was causing to the natural wildlife, and took it upon herself to act. So she came up with an idea to introduce a new set of species to inhabit this ecosystem and utilize this trash. The long-term benefit would be a constant inhabitance of the various plastics trapped in the Pacific Ocean, and possibly even breaking down the trash until the introduced organisms are no longer needed. She didn't stop at just an idea, and went on to speak of her viable bioengineered organs that assimilate with plastic digesting bacterium and microbials, and how these organisms could reduce the impact of plastic waste on Earth.

Yoldas' bioengineered organs
Bird from the Plastic Vortex region that had
consumed so much plastic that its stomach
couldn't fit real food, therefore the animal
starved to death (from Yoldas' Lecture)

Next, Yoldas spoke of her despise for cage-fed chicken coops and elaborated on the horrendous conditions in which these chickens are kept for the entirety of their pitiful lives. She took it upon herself, once again, to come up with a solution to this atrociousness. After tons of research and development, she came up with the "Fool's Foal" (Yoldas, 4/5/16 Lecture). This work of living art and science is a living organism that was bioengineered with the necessary functioning organs to produce edible eggs, similar to a chicken, on a timely fashion. This type of science made me think that she's "playing God" and exercising her creative mind. But in actuality, she was accomplishing her solution to a terrible societal problem that most people had swept under the rug.

Cage fed chicken coops cramped conditions
Fool's Fowl design (from Yoldas' Lecture)
Fool's Fowl design - "zoomed" (from Yoldas' Lecture)

This type of science was mind blowing to me. It sounded like she was trying to play "God" at first, but the more I listened, it sounded more like an artist coming up with a very atypical solution to a problem. I love the not-so-straightforward creative aspect that is involved in wanting to make a stomach for plastics or a living egg factory. Something about the ingenuity and scientific application really makes me appreciate science and art so much more. Seeing the various applications of bio-art makes me want to get in on all the fun and I look forward to learning about more insightful ventures this quarter. 
sheet from Yoldas' lecture.
Aka extra proof I was actually there.


 "Meet Your Meat: Eggs." Powered By Produce. 23 Mar. 10. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. 

 Tang, Calvin. "The North Pacific Trash Vortex." CalvinTang. 28 Nov. 2006. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.

 Yoldas, Pinar. "Pinar Yoldas: An Ecosystem of Excess | 2000m²." 2000m. Agricultural and Rural Convention, 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. 

 Yoldas, Pinar. "Pinar Yoldas." Pinar Yoldas. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. 

 Yoldas, Pinar. "Speculative Biology", UCLA Lecture. 05 Apr. 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Week 2 - Art&Math

I found it incredible that so many ancient artists incorporated mathematics into their works such as Albrecht Durer. He pioneered a new era of perspective and shadowing using mathematics he learned while in Italy. He learned of ideal proportions such as the golden ratio, and coupled this calculated style of art with shadowing techniques to create aesthetically pleasing, ideal organic structure. 
"The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse"
by Albrecht Durer

Take Durer's famous painting, "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," where shadows, linear perspective, natural and artificial perspective, and horizontal lines are all used to convey depth, size, proportion, and overall natural realism. The degree of overlap between the different horses creates a line aimed towards a back-right point. Other parts of the artwork such as the sword, bow string, falling victims, and the backs of the horsemen all send parallel lines towards this same convergent spot, once again using geometric angles to create an optical perspective.

Infrastructure example of the "Golden Ratio" in the Parthenon
Biological examples of the "Golden Ratio"
Fractals, spirals, and the Fibonacci sequence all follow this same type of organic proportional increase, but it's truly fascinating how this golden ratio of Phi is noticeable in so many aspects of our natural and artificial lives. Anything from shells and hurricanes, to financial oscillations and infrastructure follow these sequences. Such aesthetically pleasing and common structures couldn't be a coincidence, and it turns out they aren't! The reason for these particular sets of proportions taking over our daily lives is because these are the most efficient patterns of growth and extension. Since the golden ratio happens to be the most efficient way for biological systems to operate, evolution has taken its course to express this golden proportion in many systems. Likewise, CEO's try to model their companies through this ever increasing series as best as they can to maintain this perfected system of growth. 

There really isn't as much juxtaposition between the fields of art, science, and math as I originally believed. In fact, they are actually very interrelated from a fundamental standpoint as shown by the golden ratio. As professor Vesna spoke of in her lecture, the juxtaposition comes from society's belief that art and science are two polar opposite fields of study, as well as society's subsequent decision to isolate these fields from one another while we are just starting our education. Which is why we are unfortunately never exposed to these two subjects in tandem at a young age.

 "Albrecht Durer - The Complete Works." Albrecht Durer - The Complete Works. Creative Commons License, Jan. 2002. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

Banker, Teresa. "Biological Connection to Golden Ratio." Biological Connection to Golden Ratio. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
Pierce, Rod. "Golden Ratio" Math Is Fun. Ed. Rod Pierce. 27 Dec 2015. 11 Apr 2016
 Rose, Vicky. "The Golden Ratio: A Brief Introduction." Totem Learning. 22 Apr. 2015. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. "" YouTube. Web. 10 Apr. 2016. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week1 - TwoCultures

Tattoo Artist who created a word readable as "Art & Science" right-side up
and "Philosophy" upside-down to express his love for both fields of study.
In Snow's The Two Cultures and The Scientific Revolution, he brings up the polarizing fields of science and literature. He asserts that these two disparaging cultures lead to a "practical and intellectual and creative loss" for society (Snow 12). I acknowledge that fundamental differences exist between these two fields of study; but that doesn't necessarily mean that we lose out when learning about two polar opposite cultures.

I've been raised in two different ethnic cultures, and I've appreciated the disparity that I've been exposed to. It has shaped my mind to acknowledge multiple perspectives of similar issues, and look at "importance" as a relative and malleable term. On top of that, I know that there are always ideals that bridge the gap between any seemingly varied notions.

On one side of my parental family, there stands a classic white, republican, midwestern patriarch with strong ideals and an even firmer domestic presence. He was a part of a small, strict family and believes in traditional national ideals with overall looser family ties. Growing up in the mid-west he was never really exposed to multiple cultures, until coming to California for work after college.
Woman protests the active and often violent actions that
stem from immigration from Mexico into Arizona.

On the other side, I have my gentle migrant mother, one of seven, who didn't even know English until she was a pre-teen. She has always held family above all else, thinks with her heart, and keeps close ties to everyone who stayed behind in Mexico. She was picked on and discriminated against in her family's early years in California, and as she went through school, but grew from those experiences into a well-established member of society.

The crazy part of having parents from such different walks of life isn't having two Christmases or Easters, it's thinking about how impossible it is that these two completely opposing parties were able to come together and not only love each other, but choose to start a family and spend the rest of their lives together. They bonded on their strong dedication, work ethic, morals, religious ideals, love of children, and desire to start their own lives with someone who held common values.

Image signifying how two different shaped, different colored "pieces" can come together.
As we progress in this class, I look forward to picking up on the subtle, but well established, commonalities between art and science that somehow hold these two very different fields in proximity to one another.


Snow, C. P. “Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution.” Reading. 1959. New York: Cambridge UP, 1961. Print.

Vesna, Victoria. “Toward a Third Culture: Being in Between.” Leonardo 34.2 (2001): 121-25. Web.

NBC Chicago. Chicago Protestors: Don't Deport Our Economy, Photograph Accessed April 3, 2016. <>

Cooter, Margaret. Scientist vs. artist?, Photograph, March 4, 2011.

Offshore Racing Association. Offshore Racing Association and US Sailing working together for handicap racing, Photograph, July 3, 2015.