Thursday, December 12, 2013

Event 3: Aquarium of the Pacific: Ocean Science Center

This weekend, I made a visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific. When I walked into the Ocean Science Center, I didn't expect to see a gigantic sphere suspended in the middle of the room. I took one out of the many seats surrounding it. I noticed that there was a projector in the corner. When the lights turned off, a short movie was projected onto the sphere, which was constantly spinning. 


The featured show was "Exploring the Depths," which discussed the history of ocean exploration. I learned about major oceanic discoveries over the years, including how Pytheas of the Greeks is credited to a lot of sea exploration of and around Great Britain. 

This exhibition exceeded my expectations. As short as it was, I really enjoyed the movie because it was informative without being boring. The information was constantly being supplemented by the movie images, and the music composition went well with the movie. I think that this was an excellent fusion of art, technology, and science. This is a clear illustration of how a creative use of technology can be employed in order to enhance the art form and educate the audience. The use of a moving sphere as the projector screen made it so the movie was much more engaging and interesting to watch for both children and adults alike. 

Though it is not necessarily about robotics, I would connect this event with Robotics + Art, because of its use of a projector and making of a movie, which are various forms of computer technology. In, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical ReproductionWalter Benjamin views mass reproduction of art as having a negative impact. However, a lot of mass art production can positively impact the world by bringing awareness to certain issues. Here, the Ocean Science Center uses the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Science on a Sphere in order to educate viewers while exploring the planet and telling stories about ocean phenomena and their impacts. 

This was only one of the ways I saw science and art being enhanced by each other. There was also an Ocean Exhibition Hub, and a Surge Channel which replicates the furiously pounding waves that accompany the bitter cold sea and air temperatures of the North Pacific Ocean. Overall, I had a very fun experience exploring the different events that the aquarium has to offer. I would definitely suggest going because you will get the chance to learn about ocean exploration and sea life. You even get the chance to pet some sharks and sting rays!


Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction . Diss. 1936. Print.

"Exploring the Depths." Science on a Sphere Shows. Aquarium of the Pacific: Ocean Science Center. California, Long Beach. 11 12 2013. Reading.

Event 2: CNSI Exhibit features Josely Carvalho's Diary of Smells, Shards

When I first entered the room, I noticed two tables with completely different set ups. On one side of the room, a table was ordained with a variety of different foods: kimchi, peppers, cinnamon, banana chips, peanut sauce, orange peels, lavender, and more. The table on the other side of the room displayed wine glasses, along with tiny glass containers with cotton balls inside. 

Josely Carvalho invited us to help ourselves to some food, and asked us to carefully acknowledge our accompanying senses. She excitedly led us to the other table, showing us all the different installations. Diary of Smells: Shards is an ongoing work in progress that invites us to employ our multi-sensorial perceptions. This project is interactive, and is based around the idea of olfactory, a forgotten sense that remains a powerful connector to memory and emotions. She explained how memory smells of forgotten moments emerge from shards of broken wine glasses. The smells she showed us are reconstructed from texts. Together, these texts are an olfactory's book, comprised of various stages of smell production and photographs. 

This art project carefully ties together the compilation of different smells with forgotten memories. I would relate this event to the Neuroscience + Art lecture, because neuroscience is anything about the study of the brain and the nervous system. Professor Vesna claims that artists are constantly fascinated by neuroscience and our consciousness. The making of memories and the sensation of smell are both related to how the brain perceives different events. However, memory storage is found in the hippocampus, while olfaction occurs when odorant molecules bind to specific sites on the olfactory receptors. 

I found this to be one of the most unique exhibitions that I have ever been to. The concept itself is very intriguing, and the artist was able to pull together such delicate elements to engage the audience's interest. 


Carvalho, Josely. "Josely Carvalho Exhibition." Diary of Smells: Shards. University of California Institute for Research in the Arts. California, Los Angeles. 07 11 2013. Address.

"Neuroscience." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Aug. 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.

Vesna, Victoria. "" YouTube. YouTube, 17 May 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Event 1: Disney California Adventure Park

Call it senioritis, but last weekend right before finals, I went to Disneyland and California Adventure with some friends. I didn't realize at the time, but there are a variety of exhibitions and shows that demonstrate the fusion of art and science. Specifically, I was able to take a closer look at how Neuorscience + Art was illustrated at Animation Academy. The World of Color exhibition also modeled the topics of both Math + Art and Robotics + Art that have been discussed in lecture.  

This zoetrope  is an exhibition at Disney California Adventure’s Animation Academy. Here, the zoetrope employs the use of the viewer's motion perception and visual pathways. The 3D figures rotate on a disk while an LED strobe light rapidly flashes against a series of static images to produce the illusion of motion. This Toy Story Zoetrope features three-dimensional figures of characters instead of one-dimensional ones to demonstrate how sculptures can easily become fully animated in the eye of the beholder. 

This reminded me of a sensations and perceptions class I took, which explained how your brain perceives different visual sensations. Here, the neuroscience of your visual perception plays a dominant role in the success of this piece of art. Similar to optical illusions, this zoetrope triggers the dorsal (parietal) pathway of the brain. 

World of Color has more than 1,000 fountains that can shoot water up to 200 ft in the air. Each fountain is equipped with an LED light ring and also includes a 380 foot mist screen on which images are projected. The show also contains fog, lasers, and fire nozzles that can shoot fire 50 ft into the air. In addition, high definition projection domes emerge from the water atop telescopic masts and feature lighting effects and video scenes from favorite Disney and Pixar movies. Mark Hammond and Dave Hamilton arranged the music, which was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and The Nashville Choir. 
With all of the behind the scenes engineering that goes into creating the theatrics of the show, World of Color is a clear illustration of how math, technology, and art are inextricably related. This exhibition is also aesthetically pleasing and employs the use of the Golden Ratio, used by the ancient Greeks in architecture. This is a concept that Professor Vesna discussed during lecture. 
Sometimes, it is not easily recognizable how art, technology, and science are fused together. However, if we take a closer look, we can see how all three surround us in our daily lives. 

Character closeup. N.d. Photograph. 9 Dec 2013 <>

Vesna, Victoria. "Mathematics | Perspective | Time | Space." DESMA 9. Lecture.

World of Color. N.d. Photograph. 9 Dec 2013 <>



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Space + Art

"In the area of space recognition, science fiction is absolutely essential. When we are reading the news, we have to remind ourselves of the visions that science fiction writers have offered that scientists have followed." -Professor Vesna

Science fiction deals with imaginary content in futuristic, spacial, or scientific settings, exploring the results of scientific innovations and making it the "literature of ideas." Though some elements are not possible by certain laws of physics, many components of science fiction can be largely possible given the scientific support.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's 1920 novel, Beyond the Planet Earth describes the first true space station, "complete with a greenhouse, a laboratory, a living quarters..." (Vesna, Lecture 1). It is amazing how far spatial technology has come to be able to actually translate Tsiolkovsky's imagination into real life - and more!

People have been working and living in space, around the clock, every single day, for the past ten years. The International Space Station is a collaboration by 15 nations to design, assemble, and conduct research. The largest and longest inhabited object to every orbit earth not only has a laboratory, but an exercise room and a room containing medical equipment, such as an ultrasound. The ISS even has its own live broadcasting station. [Below] The top picture shows a man exercising on CEVIS, and the bottom picture is a sunflower being grown at the International Space Station.

Last weekend, I watched the movie Ender's Game, based upon the 1985 military science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card. The novel is set in earth's future, where mankind is preparing for its third invasion by an outer space insect species called the "Buggers." In doing so, the government recruits children at a very young age and trains them through increasingly difficult war games, including some in zero gravity. In this movie, the training headquarters took place in space, which included entire training arenas! This is a much advanced space setting for Card's 1985 time period, showing once again how science fiction is essential to science.

Science fiction catalyzes the imagination of scientists. After learning about this week's material, I am even further convinced that science and art are intertwined.


Exercise N.d. Photograph. NASA. 1 Dec 2013.<>

"Konstantin Tsiolkovsky" Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Mar. 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2013.

International Space Station. NASA. 1 Dec 2013 . Web.

Sunflower N.d. Photograph. NASA. 1 Dec 2013. <>

Vesna, Victoria. "Space pt1." DESMA 9. <>. Lecture

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nanotechnology + Art

"Even the smallest change in sequence can create a very different outcome in computation." - Paul Rothemund, TED Talk: DNA Folding, in detail

Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on a molecular or atomic scale which cannot be seen by the naked eye. This field of technology is making more and more breakthroughs in various forms of art. 

Researchers at the University of Illinois have used acid to shrink silver nanoparticles, resulting in conductive ink. By suspending it in a cellulose solution, the nanoparticles become fluid enough to flow through the tip of a pen. A line drawing becomes strong enough to carry a current that can power an antenna or a small LED display. The pen enables a new type of creative design, shown here in the lightbulb at the top of this house. 

At the annual International Online Nanoart competition, this artist hydrolized a tiny drop of titanium organometallic compound, coating it with gold so it could be seen with a Scanning Electron Microscope. The electron scan was painted, manipulated, and created onto a canvas. The nanosculpture below is named "Black Eye NanoOctopus," created by California based artist and scientist, Cris Orfescu.

Here, artist Elisa Cohen created a piece called "Resurrection." The nanosculpture was made up of three layers, the top one being an inverse of the original layer. There is a color overlay on the top two layers, with the topmost layer containing an opacity gradient layer. The artist used Adobe Photoshop's liquify filter for the middle layer. 

After reviewing this week's material, I am beginning to see the newly developing relationship between nanotechnology and art. In turn, this "nano" connection helps me understand the broader relationship between art and science on a more macro-level. 


Black Eye NanoOctopus. N.d. Photograph. New York Times. 24 Nov 2013.<>.

Nanoparticle-Filled Ink Conducts Electricity. N.d. Photograph. Popular Science. 24 Nov 2013.<>.

"Nanotechnology" Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Mar. 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2013.

"Paul Rothemund: DNA folding, in detail." TED Talks. YouTube, Sept 2008. Web. 24 Nov. 2013.

Resurrection. N.d. Photograph. Popular Science. 24 Nov 2013.<>.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Neuroscience + Art

As a psychology major, I am fascinated by the study of the human mind. Last spring quarter, I took a social cognitive neuroscience class. This was the first time this class has ever been taught at UCLA, as it is a new and developing field of study. Not only did I learn the "why" of social human interaction, but I got to learn the "how" behind it. What part of the brain is triggered when you are in an embarrassing social situation? Why does one component of your brain fire more neurons when you are doing one thing versus the other? It is amazing how much we have learned about something so intricate and complex such as our minds, and even more amazing of how we are just beginning to understand it. Here, Christopher deCharms discusses how new technology is allowing us a "look inside the brain," allowing for the possibility of somewhat controlling emotions such as pain or anger. 

During the duration of my undergraduate life, I have also taken a couple of upper division psychology classes that revolve around the Mind-Body relationship. Health Psychology is a class devoted to understanding the scientific connections between psychological factors, social factors, and physical health and illness. This model of health is called the Biopsychosocial model. Over the years, artists have had to create new models to ensure that both doctors and psychologists alike are able to work with the most updated information. For instance, my professor discussed how stress (a psychological state) can weaken the immune system (a physical state).

I was so interested in this, that I took the counterpart, called Mind-Body Health psychology. Here, my professor talked about different methods such as yoga, meditation, and positive thinking and how, if conducted properly, can actually work wonders on the body. Time Magazine's "The Science of Meditation," shows how meditation can be used as a relaxation technique to help with stress management. 

There is no doubt that the mind and body are inextricably connected. Together, art and technology is becoming more and more of a crucial player in the medical and health fields. 


Biopsychosocial Model. N.d. Photograph. Google Images. 17 Nov 2013.

"Biopsychosocial Model" Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Mar. 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.

"Christopher deCharms: A look inside the brain in real time." TED Talks. YouTube, Mar 2008. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.

The Science of Meditation. N.d. Photograph. Time Magazine. 17 Nov 2013.<,9171,1005349,00.html>.

Stein, Joel. "Just Say Om." Time Magazine. (2003): n. page. Print.