Saturday, July 23, 2016

Event 2: The Getty Center

               While my experience at the Getty Center was enjoyable, the exhibits that I saw did not reflect much science and technology. Primarily, the museum seemed to lean more towards traditional art, sculpture, and photography. Nevertheless, there were a few aspects about the Getty worth mentioning that combined art and science to a certain degree.


A picture showing the arrival of the tram at the Getty.


               Surprisingly, the most technological parts about the Getty were not inside the exhibits themselves. Upon arrival, the tram created an illusion that there was going to be some sort of technology integrated within the museum. Even though it was not technically art, the tram did provide a nice introduction to the museum along with a nice view of the surrounding area. At the tram’s arrival plaza, there was a sculpture known as Martin Puryear’s That Profile (1999). Although it was standing right in plain sight, it could be easily overlooked since it was not part of a specific exhibit. The wired metal structure reminded me of the tensegrity ones described in the readings[1]. It did not possess the same symmetry, but it seemed to be engineered in a way that played with the ideas of tension and compression.


This structure is That Profile made by Martin Puryear in 1999[1].


               A majority of the exhibits, though, showcased older European art. Despite the fact that these pieces did not focus on neither science nor technology, they did show concepts related to mathematics. Most notably, Gerrit van Honthorst had a strong sense of perspective in his ceiling painting A Musical Group on the Balcony (1622). To see it, my group and I had to crane our necks backwards to see a number of faces returning our gazes. Personally, I thought that this was an interesting take on the use of perspective. Instead of doing a general landscape, the artist used a vanishing point directed up towards the sky. By doing so, his painting left a lasting impression in my mind.


A photo of Gerrit van Honthorst's A Musical Group on the Balcony[2].


               Unfortunately, the one exhibit that did have the most relevance to this class restricted the use of videos and photographs. The exhibit was called Electric, and it displayed a number of photographs dealing with electronics. The Study on How Men Walk, Man Wired with Lights, Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C. (1946) by Gjon Mili seemed to touch upon the idea of cyborgs[2]. The frame-by-frame shots of the legs can even lend itself well in creating better electronic prosthetics and humanoid robots. On the other hand, Kunie Sugiura’s After Electric Dress A Positive 4 brilliantly showed the beauty of wearable electronics. The lights on the dress created a dazzling display against the black silhouette. Finally, Naoya Hatakeyama utilized the most technology in his work Maquettes/Light #5806 by placing a light box behind his portrait. This effect made these standard photos literally shine, which contributed to the realism of the piece. Altogether, this exhibit was the highlight of my visit with its deeper connection to art and technology (as well as my major).


No description of this image is available.    

    
The pictures of Mili's The Study on How Men Walk, Man Wired with Lights, Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C. (upper left)[3]Hatakeyama's Maquettes/Light #5806 (lower left)[4], and Sugiura’s After Electric Dress A Positive 4 (lower right)[5] are all taken from the internet. My proof of attendance next to the poster of the exhibit at the Getty is also shown (upper right).


               For the purpose of this class, there seemed to be less of a focus on the union between art and science at the Getty Center compared to other places like LACMA. This did not result in a bad experience, though. As a matter of fact, I quite liked the Getty’s aesthetic atmosphere, and I was still able to make several insights about the artworks. 



Sources:

1. Ingber, Donald E. "The Architecture of Life." Scientific American Jan. 1998: 48-57. Print.

2. Vesna, Victoria. "Robotics: Part 2." YouTube. uconlineprogram, 15 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAZ8bo9T_Pk>.


Artworks:

1. Puryear, Martin. That Profile. 1999. The Getty Center, Los Angeles.

2. Van Honthorst, Gerrit. A Musical Group on the Balcony. 1622. The Getty Center, Los Angeles.

3. Mili, Gjon. The Study on How Men Walk, Man Wired with Lights, Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C. 1946. The Getty Center, Los Angeles. The J. Paul Getty Museum. J. Paul Getty Trust. Web. 23 July 2016. <http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/248277/gjon-mili-study-on-how-men-walk-man-wired-with-lights-walter-reed-hospital-washington-dc-american-1946/>.

4.  Hatakeyama, Naoya. Maquettes/Light #5806. 1995. The Getty Center, Los Angeles. Taka Ishii Gallery. Taka Ishii Gallery. Web. 23 July 2016. <http://www.takaishiigallery.com/en/archives/1355/>.

5. Hatakeyama, Naoya.  After Electric Dress A Positive 4. 2002. The Getty Center, Los Angeles. The J. Paul Getty Museum. J. Paul Getty Trust. Web. 23 July 2016. <http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/focus_electric/>.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Week 5: Space + Art

               Whereas nanotechnology is too small to be seen, space is much too vast to be perceived entirely. To put it into perspective, astronomer Carl Sagan has mentioned that “our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark,”[1]. High-rise buildings and egos may be massive on Earth, but they are nothing in comparison to the ever-increasing boundaries of the universe.


Carl Sagan's analysis in his book A Pale Blue Dot shows how Earth is small in relation to the universe[1].

               Due to the sheer size of space, it has been a huge domain for artists and scientists to explore. The Hubble Space Telescope is one innovation that has brought distant galaxies to our doorsteps.  Created in 1990, this telescope has revealed many mysteries about the universe (age of the universe, discovery of dark energy, etc.) to scientists[2], but at the same time, it does so in an artistic way. Many of the images taken from the Hubble are surprisingly colorful against the black background of space. Moreover, they showcase the mystical beauty found within nature in the way that the interstellar clouds produce ghostly projections surrounded by bright lights. The Hubble’s work is not even done yet as it still continues to take pictures of distant galaxies to this very day[3].


A video of a 3D image taken from the Hubble Telescope[2].


               When scientists and artists are not looking at the sky for answers, they are writing and drawing their ideas about how mankind can further explore space. Science fiction has hugely popularized space exploration in shows such as Star Trek and movies like Star Wars. Books have also played an important role by inspiring many scientist to make these dreams into reality. For instance, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Fountain of Paradise (1976) mentions the idea of a space elevator from Earth to the moon. This idea has inspired David Smitherman to start plans for this project in real life using nanotubes and robot climbers[4]. From these examples, it is possible to see the interconnection between art and science. Art is helping scientists to imagine the possibilities, while science is giving artists new insights to work with. Possibly, since space is so large, there is enough room for artists and scientists to collaborate together.


Conceptual art for what a space elevator might look like[3].


               Even though space can be looked at through a telescope or described in a novel, it still has ways to go before it can be reached by the general public. An astronaut alone needs either three years of professional experience or one thousand hours of piloting. This does not even include the other conditions, which include 20/20 vision and a blood pressure less than 140/90 in sitting position[5]. These requirements are strict because there have already been several casualties in space travel such as the Space Challenger disaster in 1986 and the Columbia incident in 2003[6]. These tragedies overall paint a grim picture of being trapped inside space shuttle, isolated from the rest of the world. One day, space travel might be safe enough for everyone, but until then, exploration needs to be left for satellites and dreams.


The tragedy of the Space Challenger continues to remind people about the dangers in space travel[4].


               In the end, Carl Sagan is right in saying that the universe is huge. However, with some technology and a little imagination, the vastness of space can be comprehended and observed by human beings. 



Sources:

1. Sagan, Carl. "Pale Blue Dot Quotes." Goodreads. Goodreads Inc., n.d. Web. 22 July 2016. <https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1816628-pale-blue-dot-a-vision-of-the-human-future-in-space>.

2.  "Hubble Essentials." Hubble SiteSpace Telescope Science Institute (STScI), n.d. Web. 22 July 2016. <http://hubblesite.org/about_us/>.

3. J├Ąger, Mathias. "Space... The Final Frontier." Hubble Space Telescope. ESA, 21 July 2016. Web. 22 July 2016. <http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1615/>.

4. Vesna, Victoria. "Space Exploration and Art: Part 1." YouTube. uconlineprogram, 29 July 2013. Web. 22 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZIqTR332l8>.

5. Howell, Elizabeth. "How To Become An Astronaut." Space.com. Purch, 7 May 2014. Web. 22 July 2016. <http://www.space.com/25786-how-to-become-an-astronaut.html>.

6. Vesna, Victoria. "Space Exploration and Art: Part 4." YouTube. uconlineprogram, 30 May 2012. Web. 22 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAZ8bo9T_Pk>.


Images/Videos:

1. Pale Blue Dot. N.d. Pale Blue Dot. Pale Blue Dot. Web. 22 July 2016. <http://palebluedotltd.com/about/>.

2. Flight to Star Cluster Westerlund 2YouTube. Hubble Space Telescope, 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 22 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5MwOCgzQ6M>.

3. Cain, Fraser. What Is a Space Elevator? Digital image. Universe Today. Fraser Cain, 23 Dec. 2015. Web. 22 July 2016. <http://www.universetoday.com/105441/what-is-a-space-elevator/>.

4. Challenger: The Science of a Space Shuttle Disaster. N.d. Time. Time Inc., 28 Jan. 2016. Web. 22 July 2016. <http://time.com/4196145/space-shuttle-challenger-disaster-science/>.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Week 5: NanoTech + Art

               Most of the time, the sciences and arts are categorized as visual experiences. Scientists need to see proof from their experiments, whereas artists have to interpret artworks and performances visually. However, this week’s lectures have shown that nanotechnology is changing this perception by introducing a new medium that cannot be seen with the naked eye.


 
A scanning tunneling microscope such as the one pictured gives people a look into the nanoscopic universe[1][2].


               Although the idea of nanotechnology may have been thought of by Richard Feyman in 1959[1], the real geniuses who brought this small world into reality are Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer. Their scanning tunneling microscope (STM) uses touch rather than sight in order to detect atomic structures[2]. In many ways, this duo can be credited for the revolution of nanotechnology. With this microscope alone, a new world opened up for scientists and artists alike. As Vesna and Gimzewski perfectly describe it, the STM is a “paradigm shift from seeing, in the sense of viewing, to tactile sensing[3].

               When hearing about the STM in lecture, I instantly remembered a movie called A Boy and His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie that my electrical engineering professor showed me last year. Before this time, I did not even realize that the experience of “seeing” atoms was possible. In this movie, though, real atoms are moved around using a STM to create fluid images of a boy doing various activities[4]. Even though the images are childish at best, the fact that art is being made out of atoms is truly remarkable. It is even more astounding when one realizes that these atoms are not being seen in the typical sense. This brings the experience to whole another level, giving an illusion that atoms can be easily manipulated by human beings. Similar to the boy in the movie being able to do just about anything, the real message from this movie is showing that there are endless possibilities when it comes to nanotechnology.


A team at IBM made this short video with atoms[3].


               Innovation with nanotechnology does not just stop with art. It can also be used in the field of medicine. From quantum dots that locate diseases to nanotubes that kill tumors[5][6], nanotechnology is a driving force behind better treatments for patients. However, like all nanotechnology, it cannot be seen in a physical sense. This might be actually more beneficial since it makes these type of instruments less intrusive. Rather than having a hulking machine harm the body, nanotechnologies can seamlessly blend in with the body’s natural composition of cells and proteins. This natural change associated with nanotechnology can be the key to curing all sorts of difficult diseases like cancer.


A digital image showing how nanotechnology can be used to treat diseases[4].


               In summary, the arrival of the STM in nanotechnology made it possible for new advancements in the arts and medicine. Despite the fact that these innovations may never be physically looked at, their impact can still resonate within a person’s body and mind. Sometimes, the true beauty of art and science lies in what is unseen rather than what is seen.  



Sources:

1. Gimzewski, James K. "Introduction to Nanotechnology for Artists: Part 1." YouTube. uconlineprogram, 21 May 2012. Web. 20 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7jM6-iqzzE>.

2. Gimzewski, James K. "Introduction to Nanotechnology for Artists: Part 2." YouTube. uconlineprogram, 21 May 2012. Web. 20 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEp6t0v-v9c>.

3. Gimzewski, Jim, and Victoria Vesna. "The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of Fact & Fiction in the Construction of a New Science." Victoria Vesna. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://vv.arts.ucla.edu/publications/publications/02-03/JV_nano/JV_nano_artF5VG.htm>.

4. A Boy And His Atom: The World's Smallest Movie. YouTube. IBM, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 20 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCX78-8-q0>.

5. Gimzewski, James K. "Introduction to Nanotechnology for Artists: Part 4." YouTube. uconlineprogram, 21 May 2012. Web. 20 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHCuZetAIhk>.

6. "Nanotechnology in Medicine - Nanomedicine." Understandingnano.com. Hawk's Perch Technical Writing LLC, n.d. Web. 20 July 2016.


Images/Videos:

1. UTA NanoFab. The Scanning Tunneling Microscope. N.d. IBM 100. IBM. Web. 21 July 2016. <http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/ibm100/us/en/icons/microscope/>.

2. Schematic View of an STM. Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation Inc., n.d. Web. 21 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scanning_tunneling_microscope>.

3. A Boy And His Atom: The World's Smallest Movie. YouTube. IBM, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 21 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCX78-8-q0>.

4. Murray, James J. Nanoparticles to Cure - And to Kill! Digital image. Prescription for Murder. N.p., 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 21 July 2016. <https://jamesjmurray.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/nanoparticles-to-cure-and-to-kill/>.