Saturday, June 4, 2016

Event 3: The Getty

The Getty is a complete experience. The vantage point from the top of the hill is like no other experience, as the museum location itself adds to the "getaway" experience. Here, you feel like you can really take the time to appreciate all of what you see apart from the busy life of the city. The Hammer especially is limited by urban space and definitely feels like a chore instead of a pause on life.
View of LA!
One piece in particular that really stood out to me was by Dutch painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema. The level of detail allowed me to stare at it for so long, as there was something going on along every inch of the piece. The tiniest flowers still had so much dimension, hair and toes were beautifully rendered. The scene referenced an 1800s Victorian custom of gathering flowers on May 1st, a tradition I had never heard of, but was undoubtedly a sight to see.  I could not help but think about how perfect the two cultures of art and history fit together.

The vast majority of the art in The Getty is realist, which makes the center seem more time-honored. I really enjoyed this visit and would love to come again to take in more of what this place has to offer. Additionally, I'd want to visit The Getty Villa some time!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Event 2: LACMA

This past weekend I took advantage of the day off and the free admission to visit the LACMA. I saw many works that I hadn't seen before, and was pleasantly surprised by both ancient and modern pieces.

My friend and I perused through the ancient Asian collection first, and the most beautiful piece we came upon actually reminds me of The Trinity Cube that I referenced in my last post. The sculpture by Yee Sookyung called Translated Vase is formed by fragments of ancient ceramic vases to create "the shape of the earth."
Yee Sookyung, Translated Vase
I was more interested in perusing through the modern art collection, however, but doing do brought up a discussion between me and my boyfriend about what in modern art is considered museum-worthy versus unrealized starving artist. When we see pieces my Rothko or Pollock, it's difficult to decide why they belong in a museum while similar pieces will never make it. I still don't have an answer, but I believe it has to do with the artist's intentions behind their work. While other art forms like music and literature express through language, art expresses through something much more intangible, and that is why it's one of the world's greatest mysteries (like space!). A popstar can write autobiographies, but an artist can convey much more through a portfolio, it's just less clear cut. At the same time, we'll never know the full story. You can't tell from Van Gogh's gorgeous paintings that he was a man plagued by depression, clinging on to a fruitless hobby he loved. 

The LACMA is an incredible museum that is also very diverse. I would have also enjoyed to see their extra exhibits, but that's probably for a different day when I can also visit the Rain Room :)

Week 9 Post

The Powers of Ten lecture video immediately made me think of nanotechnology, giving perspective to how small the nanotech scale is compared to not only ourselves, but all of space. In all honesty, I didn't find the lecture videos to be very interesting at all, nor the resources listed, but I found an article by Vice called "Where Art And Space Travel Meet: Why Is The Art World Suddenly So Captivated By The Cosmos?" that actually unified art and space. The article explains that art is like space travel because both seek to push the existing boundaries, and that the concept of being "avant-garde" is just a little bit out of reach like the wonders of space.

The article mentioned the work of Trevor Paglen, who created a sculpture called the Trinity Cube. The cube, a mere 20cm on each side, is created using irradiated glass from the Fukushima Exclusion Zone (2011) and Trinitite, a mineral created when the U.S. exploded the world's first atomic bomb in New Mexico in 1945, turning sand into greenish glass. The Trinity Cube is a combination of the two glasses; two histories, two countries, melded into one.
The Trinity Cube, Trevor Paglen

Even in music, Kim Boekbinder released a song in 2012 called "The Sky is Calling," and the lyrics revolve around the infinite power of space. She even mentions the fractal nature of our world. The somg is set to images from NASA pictures, diagrams, and iconography.

Art and space combine beautifully for two reasons: first, space's infiniteness leads to endless possibilities, and second, you can't go wrong. No one can disprove possibilities when it comes to talking about the universe. There is no right and wrong, acceptable or controversial.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Event 1: Hammer Museum

Earlier this week, I visited the Hammer Museum with a friend hoping to finally see what I was missing out on at this close-to-campus museum. I was immediately surprised by the murals on the walls as museums typically have perfectly white walls and open spaces. I also did not expect to see so many people in the center of the museum just taking their lunch break or casually having mini-business meetings. I've only ever seen art museums as a place to see art, not to hang out.
spent a lot of time here :)
However, I was surprised to find that the facility was in between exhibits, and practically nothing was open. Even the walls painted by Kenny Scharf were either being painted over or restored in some way.
murals by Kenny Scharf
The only open exhibit was a film showing called The Desert People by David Lamelas. The bio and info card told me a lot about how to interpret the film. At first, the film seems to be a sort of anthropological documentary about the Papago, an "Indian" tribe. However, it becomes clear that the film is more of a commentary about the "know-it-all," privileged perspective of the white man, assuming that the studied population is more savage. It truly "calls attention on the highly subjective nature of meaning and truth". There are many small clips that add nothing to the fictional documentary, such as a scene from the dashboard of a car, driving around town for about two minutes without informational context. The film pays more attention to commonly used film techniques rather than story.

When the summer exhibit, "Made in LA: a, the, though, only" opens in mid-June, I definately would like to return to see more of what the museum has to offer. Until then... the Hammer is nothing spectacular.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 8 Post

Nanotechnology is undoubtedly a field that furthers every facet of life, but honestly, I found it difficult to wrap my head around for this week. Paul Rothemund's TED Talk about DNA folding explained it rather clearly. This is an incredible union of technology and science to create an art form that doesn't really have a purpose, but illustrates how much technology can control life. Rothemund also demonstrates how a small, nano-sized manipulation can create a much larger physical change, such as the changes in DNA that produce a human versus a tree.

Ray Kurzweil said during his TED Talk that "what fits in our pockets will fit in a blood cell in 25 years," which seems to be the mantra of nanotechnology. The Nova video reminded me that technology's goal is always about optimization, and nanotech is about optimization... a million-fold. I actually worked on data analysis with my dad this past summer on FABs, which is a shortened term for computer chip wafer fabrication. All large technology companies have FAB machines that layer extraordinarily thin layers of information again and again on a large disk that gets broken up into individual computer chips. The explanation of graphene was also incredibly interesting because it directly relates to the art field. One pencil stroke would be like a layer of graphene, so imagine a graphite sketch with layers and layers that are so clearly visually represented!!

Charcoal drawing, crosshatched so the layers are clear.
Imagine a graphene layer that depicts a 3D image of what it depicts!
Medicine can progress exponentially with nanotechnology. Imagine directly inspecting the blood cells of a cancer patient or repairing the spinal cord!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week 7 Post

Art and the brain are clearly closely related since the brain interprets what is being seen. Knowing how the brain works and what appeals to the mind is an art form in itself, for the brain both sees and makes art. Through my own research, I stumbled upon a New York Times article that explains a new field called "neuroaesthetics," the study of art through  an neuroscience lens. The field attempts to explain the biological reasons in which people react and feel the way they do about art. 

Understanding the psychological and neural happenings in the brain with empirical data could serve to take art therapy in new directions. If we were to know what effect images have on healthy and even unhealthy brains, art therapy could become more efficient at healing the body and mind. Even research on what brain areas are excited by certain colors is important in advertising and general urban design.

Pertaining to the lecture topic of drugs and their influence on neuroscience and art, I'd like to bring up the many artists who have expressed substances through their art and what they do to the brain. Their concentrations of work show the differences in perception on different drugs, and the illustrations seem to be able to convey the negative effects of a variety of substances.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 6 Post

I had a hard time during the lecture videos trying to decide if what I was watching was really considered "art" or if it was just "weird." There is no art in doing something to prove that you can, such as inserting an ear into your arm... The only message that serves to progress is the advancements of biotech and medicine. And it's unnecessary. And weird.

However, I really enjoyed the work of Natalie Jermijenko, who developed small urban gardens in front of fire hydrants and geared tadpole-raising towards improving water quality. She has fascinating ideas for using mice and tadpoles to monitor how the population's air and water quality really affects them, as both animals are more sensitive than humans to environmental factors, yet respond similarly. Her general message is about mindful environmentalism, and many of her projects make sense and would be very useful if they had the support to be implemented. Her discussion of the Urban Space Stations that reduce carbon dioxide emissions seems to be an obvious step to reduce urban pollution, however her limited success made me begin to think about why environmentalism is such a slow fight.

Natalie Jermijenko's "No Park"
The current society thinks that the dangers of the environment will simply become the next generation's problem, or even a few generations later, and we believe that it's not our time yet to deal with pollution. Environmental health is an abstract concept--even recycling is very inefficient, yet it is what most people think it is the best way to be environmentally conscious. Natalie Jeremijenko's plastic bottle office boat is a very direct way to recycle that avoids the building pollution of building a new personal office.

More Revival Fields developed by Dr. Rufus Chaney seem like the obvious solution to soil metal toxins, yet I have only just now heard of this kind of solution. And the reason why is because it takes months and years and a lot of care for a plant to grow.  One of the focuses of all governments around the world should be environmentalism, but because of how long it takes for each movement to come to fruition, it never seems like a priority.

Revival Field
GOODMagazine. "GOOD Magazine: Natalie Jeremijenko." YouTube. YouTube, 18 Apr. 2007. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.
Mel Chin Studio. "Revival Field (animation)." Vimeo. N.p., 2012. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.
"Natalie Jeremijenko." Natalie Jeremijenko. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.
"Revival Field – Mel Chin." Revival Field – Mel Chin. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.
TEDtalksDirector. "Natalie Jeremijenko: Let's Teach Fish to Text! and Other Outlandish Ideas." YouTube. YouTube, 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Midterm PDF Link

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Week 4 Post

The field of medicine stands to grow in leaps and bounds from the arts. One way that we've already discussed in lecture from Robert Lang's TED Talk. Lang explained how a crease pattern could expand to hold open a blocked artery to the heart. He even ended his talk with the statement that "someday, origami can save a life."
Origami Stent, a project by Zhong You
To further the harmony between art and medicine, medical illustrations help others better understand the inner workings of the human body. A successful medical illustrator is such a niche skill because the illustrator must have a comprehensive knowledge of anatomy as well as the ability to replicate exactly what he observes in fine detail. One celebrated medical illustrator was Frank Netter, who published The Atlas of Human Anatomy and was dubbed the "Michelangelo of Medicine." Netter created over 4,000 medical images that are used by countless medical students today, which paves the way for technology and 3D imaging.
Netter, a watercolor plate that shows the muscles and veins of the head
An Forbes article explains that "the medical illustrators in the future will likely use more 3D technology as key elements in their apps and illustrations, helping to pull layers apart to reveal the inner aspects and structure." Imagine surgeons practicing a surgery on a 3D program before performing it on a patient! The Forbes article also mentions that in the medical field,  "it seems that students with more 'right brain' qualities–related to imagery, visual and drawing skills–have begun to emerge as more successful in today’s digital, image-based world of medicine". This seems to debunk the idea that medicine is solely about the hard sciences of biology and chemistry, and that the right-brain creativity comes in handy in medicine.

Diane Gromala's TED Talk about virtual reality also sparks some new ideas for medicine. Her explanation of VR's stress-relieving capabilities reminded me of art and music therapy, and it seems that VR has huge potential to advance those fields. VAN Beethoven came to the UCLA campus earlier this school year and was a visual music experience that could easily be recreated for the purpose of relaxation, and furthermore accessed by many of the general public with a VR headset.

But to take VR even further, I think Gromala's experiment with a skeletal scan of her own torso could be broadened to an experience of the entire human body from the inside--Magic School Bus-style. Imagine the biology lessons that directly allow students to observe what DNA replication would look like inside of the body!

Bell, Susan. "Know How to Fold 'Em: How Origami Changed Science, From Heart Stents to Airbags." L.A. Weekly. N.p., 26 Apr. 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. <>.

Glatter, Robert. "Can Studying Art Help Medical Students Become Better Doctors?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Oct. 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. <>.

Lang, Robert. "The Math and Magic of Origami." TED. TED, Feb. 2008. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. <>.

Lerner, Barron H. "Frank Netter, MD: The Michelangelo of Medicine." The Atlantic. The Atlantic, 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. <>.

"VAN Beethoven | LA Phil." VAN Beethoven | LA Phil. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. <>.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Week 3 Post

To start off my blog post for this week, I'd like to discuss the meaning of art in terms of robotics. I personally don't view the existence of a robot or technology to be a form of art, however I will say that there is an art in coding and engineering itself. I view that art to be more of a skill than a form of expression. Robots are typically created to serve a purpose, which I don't believe to be a component of art.

As mentioned in lecture, Marie Shelley's Frankenstein is a celebrated and well known example of technology-gone-wrong, and is one of the first in a trend of robot mishaps. One film that I'd like to mention that has generated a lot of attention for its artistic themes is 2001: A Space Odyssey. The movie follows a voyage to Jupiter in a ship with a sentient robot, Hal, who slowly takes control of the ship. The idea of robots expanded the realm of science fiction, creating new topics of conversation.

The Arduino TED Talk celebrated the mass proliferation of robotics and technology through open source sharing, but what stood out about the speech to me was actually the ease of access for 3D printing. The invention of 3D printing has opened up many possibilities in health and science, but also endless avenues in the arts. Countless sculptures can be printed in place of other mediums which would take much, much longer, but 3D printed art is no less impressive than traditional.

3D Printed Fashion
This 3D printed piece by Luke Jerram is is actually a sculpture of a seismograph of the Tohoku earthquake that devastated Japan, "extract[ing] art and beauty out of that terrible event." This is a perfect example of art, science, technology, robotics, and mathematics all coming together. This piece is beautiful on its own (almost looks like an audio waveform which is why it caught my attention), but with the additional meaning of the tragic earthquake, it officially becomes a form of artistic expression. The seismograph is the unemotional math and numbers representation of the destruction in Japan.

Tōhoku Japanese Earthquake Sculpture, Luke Jerram


"Catastrophe Becomes Art With 3D Printing." PCWorld. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <>.
"Full Mooned: 3D Printed Fashion." Scarletchamberlincom. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <>.

"HAL's Birthday." HAL's Birthday. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2016 <>.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Diana Gibson. Frankenstein. Madrid, España: Edimat Libros, 2000. Print.

"WHAT IS ARDUINO?" Arduino. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <>.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Week 2 Post

Adobe Illustrator blew my mind. In Illustrator, images aren't bound by their pixel values but rather expressed using mathematical forms called vectors. This means that an image can be made as large as needed without losing quality because the mathematical properties can be easily scaled, unlike pixel-based images that can only stretch so far before lines begin to blur. It is much easier to understand how math is involved in computer programs, which is why I was so astonished at the mathematics behind the art of origami as explained by Robert Lang. His explanation of circle packing that allows for infinite levels of detail from a single sheet of paper is incredibly simple, but limitless.
Crease Pattern Example designed by Brian Chan
The interactive pieces of Nathan Selikoff came as little surprise; assigning a numerical value to audio frequencies creates visual patterns in the simplest voice recording programs. Another example of this is Daniel Sierra's "Oscillate" which uses simple mathematical formulas to create geometric 3D shapes and effects. Sierra explains in his Bio page that he uses "animation, programming, computer graphics and digital sound synthesis" to create many variations of "immersive digital environments," which is essentially a beautiful blend of mathematics and art. (I strongly encourage you to watch the full video, it's quite stunning.)

Daniel Sierra
In many senses, math can be a lens through which we see the world. I know from experience that when you recreate their 3D scene on a 2D canvas, the beginning step is comparing everything to everything else, it's making your field of vision into a combination of ratios. This car is a fifth of this building, this cat's tail is curled to a third of its body length, and so on. I had never thought of these ratios to be fully expressed in mathematical variables until I read through the "Vanishing Points" lesson by  Frantz. Even though the expression is incredibly simple and I know for a fact that I've done these sort of calculations before when sketching a scene, the thought of writing real life as cold hard mathematical fact seems... uncomfortable. I think this is because I strongly believe that I am not and will never be a "math person," and the juxtaposition of a math equation with parentheses and capital versus lowercase letters feels like an invasion of my norms.
Vanishing Points and Looking at Art by Marc Frantz

 Chan, Brian. "Rei v. 3." Origami Rei. July 2008. Web. 08 Apr. 2016. <>.
 Frantz, Marc. Lesson 3: Vanishing Points and Looking at Art. 2000. PDF. 
Lang, Robert. "The Math and Magic of Origami." TED. Feb. 2008. Web. 08 Apr. 2016. <>. 
 "Nathan Selikoff | Fine Artist Playing with Interactivity, Math, Code." Nathan Selikoff. Web. 08 Apr. 2016. <>. 
 Sierra, Daniel. "Oscillate." Daniel Sierra. Web. 09 Apr. 2016. <>. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week 1 Post

If art and science are indeed two distinct cultures, I'd fall decisively on the side of art. I entered UCLA as a Pre-Economics major, but no matter how hard I tried, the mathematics never made sense. The arts have always been a strong passion of mine, from fine arts to occasionally dreaming that I can sing well enough to perform. The line between the arts and the sciences is strikingly clear on the UCLA campus (clearly North versus South campus as referenced in lecture), but it was even clear at my high school, with defined “art and music buildings” and “math and science buildings.” In fact, the only educational institution that didn’t section science versus art was in elementary school. This realization reminds me of the Changing Educational Paradigms video that details a study of creativity in children at five-year intervals. The shift, from child to adult, of scoring 98% to a mere 2% “genius rate” comes with the categorization of learning (Land and Jarman). A Google Image search of “creativity and age” shows a consistent trend of a peak in early years and then constant dwindling of creativity.
 In my opinion, the idea of creativity has always been very closely linked to the arts, to the point where they’re typically synonymous. Again, to pull from Google, “creativity” is linked to vibrancy and color, while the idea of “science” is white lab coats and sterile environments.

I am not quite convinced, however, of the idea of two completely distinct disciplines. Web design, architecture, even advertising strategies are all examples of what I believe to be interdisciplinary. I prefer to think of art versus science as a spectrum, for “contemporary art practice, particularly that utilizing digital technology, is loaded with references to science” (Vesna, 123).  Furthermore, “Feyerabend suggests that if we assume that science and art share a problem-solving attitude, the only significant difference between them would disappear” (Vesna, 124). Art is typically seen to be expressive, but political writings or detailed diagrams can be viewed as problem-solving. If there are “challenges in making science relevant to nonscientists… barriers to effective science communication,” (Williams) it is due to a lack of communication between the humanities and the sciences. The acceptance that the two disciples are forever separate is the root of difficulties.