Sunday, June 5, 2016

Event 3: Philosophy + Art + Science, Maria Antonia Gonzalez Valerio [May 26th]

For this event, Maria Antonia Gonzalez Valerio was the guest lecturer and she is from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Her main points of her lecture dealt with asking questions of how art and science work together currently. What was very different about this presentation was the lack of answers as she stated from the get-go that she likes to pose questions but never answer them.

Professor Vesna introducing Maria Valerio
She began by lecturing how neither art nor science are subject to a definition and she shows this by saying art back in ancient Greece is no longer art today, She poses an interesting question of how can art be of importance to science if it cannot contribute to science. I began wondering the same thing, and have been wondering the same thing for quite some time... She gave a hint as to what artists may lack and that is knowledge of the sciences.

Maria Valerio giving her lecture
Like I said, her lecture posed a lot of questions but not a lot of answers, and I'm glad she did that because it really gets the audience thinking on topics that deal with the relevance of art in science.
Hand-stitched art piece used to protest GMOs.
She continued to talk about art and how it can contribute to activism through exhibitions and festivals, performances, labs, and workshops. One of the activism artworks she presented was a hand-stitched fabric used to show that corn was being contaminated and not to eat it. The picture shown above shows a scientist in a lab coat contaminating the corn or "maize" as it is called in Spanish. This art piece is used as a political statement against science in hopes of reforming scientific methods and research in creating genetically modified organisms or GMOs for short.
Myself and Maria Valerio
This event was very interesting as it showed a very political side to the arts and sciences that I have not been exposed to first-hand. I do think that the combination of the two can really help each other not only spread knowledge but also create ethical limitations on what is acceptable behavior in today's society.

Event 2: LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) [April 21st]

I attended LASER April  21st as my second event because I thought it would be cool to get a variety of perspectives on the combination of science and art. I do have to say it was quite an enlightening experience. There were 8 speakers and all of them were amazing, but I want to highlight my favorites.

Marco Pinter's Lecture on Appropriation of Choreographic Strategies
Marco Pinter talked about his integration of robotics and dance and it was quite fascinating. A lot of his videos consisted of using robotics in unique ways to show different types of movement. The specific one I enjoyed was Object Permanence in which he used  robotic like sculptures with digital movement to capture a new type of Rube Goldberg machine, if you will, with digital movement being used as the forces that drive the sculptures to move. Together, it brought a new way of seeing digital and physical interact.

Shannon Willis Lecture about her separation from her daughter.
Shannon Willis gave a great speech about her pursuing her career and  how she is separated from her daughter because of it. It gave her inspiration to create a piece of her recording herself while watching videos of her daughter. There is deep connection between her and her daughter that is apparent in the video and I thought it was of great social commentary to show how technology has allowed us to see the world in a virtual way and still allows us to explore emotions that we feel even though they are not face to face interactions.
Toni Dove talking about Lucid Possession 
Finally, Toni Dove talked about her work of Lucid Possession which is a live cinema performance that follows a programmer who becomes famous on the internet but is bogged down by voices in her head. The artistic aspect of this comes from the characters dress which is part robotic and visuals are projected onto the dress.

Professor Vesna and I at the LASER event
This was a very interesting event being able to see all different types of integration of art and science and it gave me a better perspective on how the two combined can create entertainment for others.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Space and Art

This weeks lecture is very fascinating to me, especially as an engineering major. I've always been excited to work in the Aerospace industry and I'm happy to say I will be doing so once I graduate in 2 weeks. Starting from the basics, Nicolaus Copernicus was fascinated by astronomy and was one of the first to describe our Solar system in which Sun was the center of it. Technology progressed with telescopes making space exploration go to new heights.
God's Eye

Much of space exploration now can be attributed to science-fiction novel and magazine influence, such as contributions fro Chesley Bonestell. These science-fiction fantasies help popularize space exploration and opened up possibilities that space travel could achieve. Popular media, from television to movies, also played a role into space exploration.

The Jetsons
Art was also made to see the what integration it can have in the space programs, such as the Cosmic Dancer by Kathleen Ford. The idea is to see the affects of weightlessness on art when in space. The geometry of the piece allowed for different orientations and angles when viewing in order to achieve different perspectives.

Orbital Debris Progression
Of course, some use space as a way of expression, specifically the harm that is around them. Kathleen Ford talks about how artists are taking an interest in zero-gravity and the feeling of weightlessness. This can be contributed to the heavy burdens of war and destruction ans using zero-gravity as a way to break from the forces that hold people down. Richard Clar uses art to show how space debris can be harmful to future space travel as well as the future state of Earth. His art depicts the debris that is orbiting around Earth, and the pictures are quite concerning seeing all the colored areas that debris circle around.

Whether it is for political statements or encouraging space-exploration, art has influenced space studies in a very progessive manner.


Bonestell, Chesley. "Bonestell - Home." Bonestell - Home. Bonestell LLC, 2016. Web. 29 May 2016. <> 
Clar, Richard. "Projects." Space Art at Art Technologies, a Collaboration between Space Technology and the Arts. Art Technologies, 2005. Web. 29 May 2016. <>. 

Ford, Kathleen. "Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity Curated by Kathleen Forde : EMPAC Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center : Troy, NY USA." Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity Curated by Kathleen Forde : EMPAC Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center : Troy, NY USA. RPI, 2010. Web. 29 May 2016. <>. 

Woods, Arthur. "Cosmic Dancer - a Space Art Intervention by Arthur Woods." The Cosmic Dancer Project : Cosmic Dancer Introduction : Arthur Woods. Arthur Woods, 1993. Web. 29 May 2016. <>. 

 Uconlineprogram. "8 Space Intro 1280x720." YouTube. YouTube, 29 May 2013. Web. 29 May 2016. <>. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Nanotech and Art

As stated by Professor Gimzewsky, nanotechnology has been around for many centuries and a lot of people do not realize it. Art such as stain glass windows and pottery glaze of 15th Century Italian pottery have been influenced by nanoparticles, giving new light and color to these art forms.

Stained Glass Windows

Nanoparticles have also been used in advancements in medicine, specifically in locating diseases such as cancer. Cancer cells and viruses can be isolated and targeted with the used of nanoparticles allowing easier and noninvasive treatment that doctors can see. There are now new nanoparticles that can help detect the exact location of blood clots! It is amazing how far science has come to help alleviate medical complications and diseases. 

Quantum Dots

Also, technology has been influence by nanoparticles, in particular computer processors. Nanotechnology is being implemented to create computer processors which is a huge breakthrough as computers can now store information and process it at the nanoscale, creating lighter and more efficient devices.

Buckeyball Around the Earth
Of course, there is always the ugly side of things where nanoparticles play harmful roles in our society. Researchers have found that nanoparticles from diesel exhausts play harmful roles in lung diseases, but on the positive side these nanoparticles are being studied as a way to find treatments to those who are genetically disadvantaged to said nanoparticles. Even downsides have there upsides.


Curtin, John. "Art in the Age of Nanotechnology." Art.Base. Art.Base, 5 Feb. 2010. Web. 22 May 2016. <>.

 Li, Jinju. "Findings on Pollution Damage to Human Airways Could Yield New Therapies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 Mar. 2011. Web. 22 May 2016. <>. 
Perry, Caroline. "Researchers at Harvard and MITRE Produce World's First Programmable Nanoprocessor." Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 9 Feb. 2011. Web. 22 May 2016. <>. 

Strait, Julia. "New Nanoparticles Make Blood Clots Visible | The Source | Washington University in St. Louis." The Source. Washington University in St. Louis, 02 Feb. 2011. Web. 22 May 2016. <>. 

 Uconlineprogram. "Nanotech Jim Pt1." YouTube. YouTube, 21 May 2012. Web. 22 May 2016. <>. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Neuroscience and Art

This weeks discussion deals with the integration of neuroscience and art, one of my biggest fascinations. I consider brain functionality very complex and intriguing, but the integration of art makes it all the more beautiful showing that our brain is more than just tissue and synapses.

In lecture, Professor Vesna discusses brainbow, as it is a term to describe a process in which individual neurons can be distinguished from other neurons with fluorescent proteins. The above picture displays brainbow and the beauty of neuron activity with color. Our brain is a complex part of our body and this insight of how the brain works through color is very fascinating and shows that neuroscience is not only medical and scientific but also an art form as well.

LSD Visions
Drugs were also used as visual enhancements or visual alterations to create a world that was more photosensitive and open. However, consequences arose as drugs such as LSD and cocaine became more popular. Much more negative side effects unraveled, showing that art can come at a price if abused.

The Art of Neuroscience: Perception is Based on Your Own Brain
Noe proclaims that it is our brain that allows us to see and interpret art that is around us. Depending on how your brain works, art will be viewed differently by others. Furthermore, Max talks about how our memories of the past are greatly shaped by sense of smell and the mood we are in, which are senses controlled by the brain. Hutton discusses the connections between art and the brain and how one influences the other; specifically, he gives an example how films are like memories created in the brain as it touches on our senses of mood, sight, feel, taste, etc. One thing is clear and it is that our brains are extremely powerful and can create these visions that we can interpret as we please. Whether it be dreams, hallucinations, or natural surrounding, our brain gives us the ability to create an exterior world that is unique to us.


Penrose, Roger. "The Third Culture - Chapter 14." The Third Culture - Chapter 14. 1995. Web. 15 May 2016. <>. 

Max, D.T. "Swann’s Hypothesis." The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Nov. 2007. Web. 15 May 2016. <>. 

Noe, Alva. "Art and the Limits of Neuroscience." Opinionator Art and the Limits of Neuroscience Comments. The New York Times, 4 Dec. 2011. Web. 15 May 2016. <>. 

Hutton, Noah. "Art and Neuroscience: A State of the Union." The Creativity Post. The Creativity Post, 10 Oct. 2012. Web. 15 May 2016. <>. 

 Uconlineprogram. "" YouTube. YouTube, 17 May 2012. Web. 15 May 2016. <>. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Biotech and Art

Biotechnology and art have been integrated with each other for many decades due to the evolution of biological studies and technological advances that make it possible to genetically enhance or alter the composition and body of organisms. This week's lecture, Professor Vesna introduced Eduardo Kac who created a genetically modified bunny that gives off a fluorescent color, ie glows in the dark.

Alba, the fluorescent bunny by Eduardo Kac
Technology has created many opportunities for scientists to help find cures for diseases and indicate where diseases are forming. However, there is some ethical and societal backlash against transgenic artists whose goals are to use modified genes to create unique beings. There are criticisms of using such technology for art as very irrational and silly because it is not aiding society in any manner. However, artists counteract and respond by saying doing this is a form of expression, using technology in a different manner that is not necessarily scientific.

There are other negative about genetically modifying organisms such as plants. There are these super weeds that are growing in Iowa that take over farmland and continuously dominate and poison crops to die out. Further research into these super weeds indicate that their genetic mutations could be aided through fertilizers and resistant to weed killers.
A pretty disgusting video of the decomposition of McDonald's foods (the fries are really concerning)

In an even more disgusting example, the above video shows the aging of McDonald's food, specifically the Big Mac and fries. After weeks of aging, the foods showed no signs of mold or decomposition, which brings the following question: what is being put into our foods?

Planet of the Apes
A more romanticized version of the effects of genetic mutation is the film Planet of the Apes. In the original 1968 movie, 3 astronauts become captive on a planet where apes are the rulers and humans are slaves. This can be seen as more a less a commentary of how humans treat animals for their own purposes, but the shoes are now reversed. A lot of backlash of genetic exploration has dealt with animal cruelty and the ethics behind using animals for the betterment of humankind, despite the animals sharing similar genetic characteristics. If these animals are so similar in genetic composition, why do we treat them so poorly and think of them as equal? This topic I feel is one of the most controversial and still needs to be explored more thoroughly as to what boundaries should be drawn without going too far.


Kac, Eduardo. "GFP BUNNY." GFP BUNNY. Kac Web, 2000. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 

Yeates, Ed. "'Super Weed' Taking Strong Hold in Utah |" 'Super Weed' Taking Strong Hold in Utah | KSL, 08 June 2009. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 

High, Kathy. "How Did Matilda, Tara and Star Barbie Become Transgenic Rats?" Embracing Animal. Feb. 1995. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.

Stutz, Bruce. "Seed Magazineabout." Wanted: GM Seeds for Study § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM. SEED MAGAZINE, 10 July 2010. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 

 Uconlineprogram. "5 Bioart Pt1 1280x720." YouTube. YouTube, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 08 May 2016. <>. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Midterm Project: Hologram Umbrella

Check out my midterm project of the Hologram Umbrella. (Psssttt... click Hologram Umbrella... Not this one but the first one...)