Monday, June 6, 2016

Event: Leap Before You Look

On April 23, I attended the in-gallery demonstration at the Hammer Museum in the “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1937-1957” exhibition.  During the in-gallery demonstration, Cameron Taylor-Brown set up her looming station and demonstrated the process.  I watched as she performed what seemed to be a very complicated procedure.  As she worked, Cameron described the process, which involves the warp bean, heddles, and harness.  There are three principal motions involved in weaving - shedding, picking, and battening.  During shedding, the yarn is raised and then the filling shuttle is inserted.  Cameron explained that some machines do this part automatically for you, while other older machines do not.  The Picking is when the harness raises and the shed is created.  Lastly, during the battening, the yarn is placed down and the weaver uses the reed to press down each filling of the yarn. 
            After gaining an understanding the looming process and watching Cameron do it in person, I was stimulated to recall the class lecture in which we learned about two other important processes - the printing press and the assembly line.  In particular, the loom reminded me of the printing press because they both have their origins long ago.  Today, many clothes are not woven or created by hand; they are produced by machines on an assembly line.  No human hands (or hearts) generate them.  The looming process requires knowledge, skill and care.  But today, in so many instances, clothes are the result of heartless machines who do not know nor can they care what they produce.  In contrast, I know if Cameron Taylor-Brown made me a garment, it would be made with real care, and that adds great value to it for me.  

Event: Griffith Observatory

Although I have lived in Southern California my entire life, I have never visited the Griffith Observatory, even during my four years at UCLA.  It is famous for its architecture and large telescope, which visitors can peer through after a long wait in line.  During Week 9, we discussed in class Space + Art, which correlates to the Griffith Observatory.   
During my visit, I walked through the various exhibits, taking in all the fascinating information.  In the Ahmanson Hall of the Sky, I was able to observe the effects of the sun and moon and ponder what it would be like if Earth did not have a sun.  This question led to a few conclusions: we would not have seasons or annual cycles.  Sun is a star and gives us insight into the nature of stars.  The moon, along with Earth, move in relation to the sun, giving us moon phases and eclipses to marvel at.   
            In my post about week 9: Space + Art, I mentioned that the human race is fascinated with space because it presents a large unknown.  Visiting the Griffith Observatory caused me to feel as if I was closer to space and the stars; I now know more about space in a sort of intimate way.  The observatory offers not only great views of the Los Angeles area, but also a glimpse into space and a view of the stars which stimulates a feeling of closeness to space, it that were possible.  

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 9: Space + Art

Space has always been an object of fascination and intrigue for humans because it is vast and unknown.  Its exploration became a race [the so-called “Space Race”] during the Cold War between Russia and the US.  
Space Race 
Although Russia was the first into space with a satellite [1957] and later a man [1961], America was the first to walk on the moon [1969].  As I watched the lecture videos, I found it quite stimulating to understand the details about how America and Russia constantly developed new methods and technologies to expand space exploration.  Today, on the other hand, it do not seem humans are racing into space, nor are we energized to capitalize on what the moon may have to offer for problem solving.  
Time Magazine Cover Art
            The exciting developments of space exploration that occurred in 2004 added new dimensions to the notion of human effort to expand our horizons.  The US landed rovers on Mars and reached Saturn with a probe.   The most interesting aspect was the launching into space of privately owned manned crafts.  These developments were significant and exciting, but they did not seem to be big news.  Why?  Has human kind lost fascination with space exploration?  
The last lecture video made interesting arguments about the moon possibly becoming the Persian Golf of the 21st century.  The surface of the moon contains vast amounts of Helium-3 isotopes, deposited over billions of years by solar wind, which could be used to provide abundant fuel for fusion energy without radioactive waste.  
Helium 3 Isotope
Helimu-3 is not available on earth in sufficient amounts to provide fuel.   Also, using water from the asteroid belt is an intriguing idea I could not have anticipated.  Overcoming the distance and time would be a unique challenge.  I think these sorts of solutions to the challenges humans face can only be achieved as we continue the aggressive pursuit of space exploration technologies now and in the future.  
NASA Moon Base
            In 2006 NASA announced its intention to establish a permanent base on the moon by 2024.   Achieving such an objective would be exciting and a logical extension of Neil Armstrong’s historic 1969 moonwalk.  2024 is just eight years away, not many years distant.  Since then plans have changed, and it is not so clear what we will do.  Still, why have we not heard more about this development if it is still underway?  Is this next step?
Neil Armstrong
Wikipedia. “Space Race”. 29 May 2016. Web.
TED Ed Lessons Worth Sharing. “Who Won the Space Race”. 29 May 2016. Web.
Herbert, Evan. “How did the space race between the U.S. and Soviet Russia affect American Politics.” 29 May 2016. Web. 30 August 2014.
Pics About Space. “Future NASA Plans Moon Base.” 29 May 2016. Web. “Helium-3”. 29 May 2016. Web.

Week 8: NanoTech + Art

As I began watching the lectures for this week I was unaware what nanotechnology was.  Nanotechnology is a small study of science, engineering, and technology.  The small study is usually one nanometer.  I cannot imagine how small this is, but Dr. Gimzewski helped me understand by comparing the size to an atom.  Many of his lecture was over my head, especially when he began explaining the logarithmic scale.  

            In his last video lecture I was interested to find out what products on the market today contain nanoparticles.  I had never heard of “Slim Shake Chocolate” before.  I looked more into this product to find out why it contains nanoparticles and how this is positive or negative. 
            I discovered this drink, which contains natural coca particles also includes NanoClusters, which are 100,00th the size of a single grain of sand.  The two ingredients are combined to create a great taste, but without excess sugar.  
Slim Shake Chocolate
            Prior to the release of Slim Shake Chocolate, nanofoods safety was questioned.  The problem was that scientists were unsure if the body could properly metabolize nanoparticles.  They have certain durability; nanoparticles retain their particle-ness after being passed through the gut.  Many scientists spoke out saying this really needs to be tested in a laboratory before any diet products were placed on the shelf.  
The Project of Emerging Nanotechnologies. “ Nanoceuticals Slim Shake Chocolate”.   29 May 2016. Web. 1 January 2007.
Maynard, Andrew. “Shaking up the nano-food debate”. 2020 Science. 29 May 2016. Web. 20 October 2008.
National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network. “Materials Modeling and  Simulation for Nanotechnology.” 29 May 2016. Web. 2011.
Kresin, Vitaly. “USC Nanocluster Physics Laboratory.” 29 May 2016. Web.
Wikipedia. “Nanoparticle”. 29 May 2016. Web.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Week 7 Neuroscience + Art

I was curious to learn about the history of Cocaine and LSD. I was unaware of their histories and how they each eventually became illegal.  Freud I knew as a psychiatric doctor famously known for his different methodologies.  I did not know that he had a past with Cocaine.  Sigmund Feud’s book Cocaine Papers must contain interesting information and possible insight seeing as he was addicted to the drug while writing the book.  
Sigmund Fred Cocaine Papers
            It seems LSD was experimented more frequently with as it became particularly popular with Timothy Leary.  Fortunately for Leary, in the beginning of his research he found positive results with LSD.  Although his experimentation with the drug took place during the early 60’s, people were still unsupportive of his LSD research.  
Effects of LSD
            Richard Alpert was a psychology teacher at Harvard, where he taught a motivational class.  It was that year at Harvard when the Psilocybin Project began.  Alpert and Leary administered hallucinogenic drugs to students.  This gained great media attention and the professors at Harvard were soon under attack by parents and being questioned by the FBI.  While I think a professor who studies psychology would be interested in the affects of hallucinogens, I do not think administering the drugs to college students was an appropriate way to study.  
LSD dissolved on the tongue
Kansra, Nikita and Shih, Cynthia. “Harvard LSD Research Draws National Attention”. 28 May 2016. Web. 21 May 2013.      
Benji, Cam. LSD Project. 28 May 2016. Web. “Sigmund Freud and Cocaine Use”.  28 May 2016. Web. 2014.
Vesna, Victoria. Lecture. “Conscious / Memory (Part 2).” 28 May 2016. Web. 16 May 2012. 
Vesna, Victoria. Lecture. “Conscious / Memory (Part 3).” 28 May 2016. Web. 16 May2012. 

Week 6: BioTech + Art

This topic of BioTech is very foreign to me.  I did find Kathy High’s research into rats interesting.  Her project Blood Wars sounded gross initially, but it brings up some interesting questions about art and biotech.  
When scientists first sequenced the human genome, they needed large robotic machines and huge laboratories; now, a single person armed with a desktop computer can perform the work of an entire genetics lab.
 The questions that she poses about blood such as what do we inherit and what do we not inherit through blood? I went to Kathy’s website about Blood Wars in order to look further into her experiment. This idea of wanting to know more about blood and how it affects the human body is something I have never thought about.   
Kathy High
While browsing her website the concept of natural selection came into my head.  If we could conduct experiments to find out whose blood cells are stronger than humans could have their own natural selection.  If women knew which men has stronger white blood cells wouldn’t they chose the stronger over the weaker?
            Kathy’s other project, researching rat laughter was something I wanted to look further into.  Who knew rats laughed?  What effects rats enough to be able to produce ultrasonic sounds?  Rats are not thought positively of in our society today, but they are used frequently in research to cure human diseases and help science progress.  
Kathy's drawings
Kathy High: visual/media artist, independent curator, educator. “Rat Laughter”. 28 May 2016. Web.
Blood Wars. “Welcome to Blood Wars”. 28 May 2016. 2010. Web.
Boyle O’ Shaun. “ ”. Science        Gallery Production – Kathy High: Blood Wars. 28 May 2016. Web. 25 January       2011.
Seeker. “Biotech’s Explosive Evolution Outpace’s Moore’s Law”. 28 May 2016. Web.             14 May 2013.
Kathy High. “Blood Wars Trailer”. 28 June 2016. Web.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Week 4: MedTech + Art

This week’s discussion of technology and art opened my mind to the concept that art is a significant contributor to technology used in medicine.  I was intrigued to learn how x-rays began.  Concerning tools, Professor Vesna explained that at one time if a Doctor used tools or technology, they were not considered a Doctor.  That was very odd.  Wilhelm Rontgen who was a physicist discovered X-rays.  The name x-rays employs the mathematical designation “x” – the symbol for an unknown.  
Wilhelm's wife's hand under x-ray technology 
While researching art and x-rays, I came across an article, which discusses the use of x-ray technology to study artwork.  Types of materials used in paintings can be discerned when x-ray technology is applied.  We can also discover where and when a painting was created through x-ray technology because of the kinds of minerals found in the materials, the canvass and the paints.  An example is Vermeer’s “The Girl with a Pearl Earing”.  An x-ray of that painting revealed that lead was used in the piece, which was a primary component in white paint.  The discovery gives us clues, based on the details of the lead used in the painting, where and when the piece was created.  
Girl With a Pearl Earing

Girl With a Pearl Earing under x-ray technology
Artist Hugh Turvey creates artwork-employing x-rays of different objects.  One of his pieces is of his wife’s foot in a stiletto developed with x-ray technology.  He notes, “We all understand that your foot is going through quite a lot when it is in a stiletto, but to actually physically see it and to see the angle of the bones…” (Gambino).  Turvey has coined a term for his work: “xogram”.  It describes his work as a mash-up of an x-ray and a photogram.  He creates them by placing an object directly on light sensitive paper and exposing it to x-rays.  
Hugh Turvey's wives foot in a stiletto

Hugh Turvey's "xogram" artwork   art-deeper-look-everyday-objects-180949540/?no-ist

Art Experts. “X-ray Examination.” 24 April 2016. Web.
Gambino, Megan. “X-Ray Art: A Deeper Look at Everyday Objects.” 3 February 2014.            24 April 2016. Web.   art-deeper-look-everyday-objects-180949540/?no-ist
Bakalar, Nicholas. “X-Rays, 1986.” 15 June 2009. 24 April 2016. Web.
Vesna, Victoria. “Http://” Lecture. Medicine       pt3. Youtube, 22 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 April 2016.
Vesna, Victoria. “Http://” Lecture. Medicine pt2             .Youtube, 21 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 April 2016.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Robotics + Art

Robotics + Art
As I watched the lectures this week, I considered what I know about Robots.  I realized that my knowledge, if you can call it that, has been gained through popular media, movies in particular.  Films came to mind such as Star-Wars, The Terminator, RoboCop and others.  A favorite of mine is WALL-E, the Pixar animated film.  Pixar movies tend to be geared towards children.  But in the case of WALL-E, Pixar creatively incorporates adult concepts and references regarding humanity’s future in regards to robots and technology.  
Wall-E examines a Rubix Cube

 Ev-a and other robots taking control
My focus here is on industrialization in regards to WALL-E.  The movie is set in the year 2805, and WALL-E is left alone on the Earth.  All humans have departed.  They live in a spaceship, completely relying on robots to direct and maintain the ship as well as run their lives.  Humans have become obese and unable to care for themselves.  Though Pixar uses plenty of humor, the film offers a disquieting look into a future in which humans lose their independence.  It offers a warning concerning over-dependence on technology, industrialization and mega-corporations.  The company that takes over life on the space ship in WALL-E is named “Buy ‘n’ Large.”
 The year 2805 taken over by Buy 'n' Large
Often in films, the representation of technology is influenced by art.  Not so in WALL-E.  Pixar started with humanity’s growing dependence on technology to create an exaggerated representation of where humans could be headed if we continue in the current direction.  In WALL-E, technology drives the art. 

Humans eating liquid food
Professor Vesna’s lectures this week caused me to consider industrialization in relation to robots.  I now see the increase of robots in society and our growing dependence on technology.  I can’t but help think about the future and how this reliance will affect our existence.  We must not let technology rule us and rob us of our humanity.   
Weebly. Existential Analysis of WALL-E. 15 April 2016. Web.
Stolyarov, Gennady. WALL-E: Economic Ignorance and the War on Modernity. 15 April            2016. Web. 4 July 2008.
“Wall-E: Science, Art and the Meaning of Life.” Web log post. The Science Bit.   WordPress,    15 April 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2012.          meaning-of-life/
Spiegel, Josh. The Greatest Feat of WALL-E. 15 April 2016. Web. 20 May 2014.
Nguyen, Huy. WALL-E: For All Ages, For the Ages. 15 April 2016. Web.