Archive for the ‘Week1_BlogRegister’ Category

WEEK_5_Ethnical Evaluation of Weeks 1-5

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

WEEK_5_Ethnical Evaluation of Weeks 1-5
If I were to summarize the topics covered thus far, this class emphasizes artistic expression within a broad compression of digital and technological history.  This class first covered the relationship between art and sciences, and then developed the growing influence of science in art.  The topics of simple perspective in drawing, to robots, and to potential artificial intelligence have shown the strong influences of sciences and technology within art.  While CP Snow’s “Cultural Rift” claims the two are separate entities and have separated two intellect bodies, the rest of the class has strongly refuted his argument.  Desma 9’s first week introduced a cultural problem, but the rest of the class seems to be proving it’s own thesis wrong. Art and science are intimately connected and are inevitably intertwined.  The real “cultural debate” is not if there is a split between the intellects, but how far will technology alter the definition of art, humanities, and even life forms.
Some of the worlds earliest art only evolved with the help of the mathematical studies.  Perspective and vanishing point are merely a mathematical formula of how things look from a distance. Every single lecture following the first week pointed out the growing connection and relationship between the humanities department and the art department.  This trend continues with the abstract expression of the 4th dimension, robots, industrialization, artificial intelligence, and even human art and plastic surgery.
The Analects of Confucius, by Simon Leys, is a Confucius based work that argues imminently against Snow’s thesis.  This book passionately supports politics and the ideals of a civilization of the past ages, essentially saying there are no two cultures competing for society’s intellects.  However, this book laments the loss of some of civilization’s past ethics and beliefs.  This is the main downside or danger of the advancing technologies and sciences.  The definition of dehumanization is as follows, “the act of degrading people with respect to their best qualities.” Is this now happening to us now?
We discussed this topic several times in discussion, but is a robot dancing really dancing? Is a machine created painting really a painting?  In the past, art was highly valued as a specialized, unique form of expression.  Artisans were very important to a cities culture and society.  This trend is fading away.  While in a previous blog I mentioned the benefits of technology in art, which included a mass spreading of beautification, I believe such influx of art has drastically altered the value of arts.  The most important thing in such a morphing society is now the hindrance of the change, but rather, an education to appreciate and understand the changes and trends. Advances in technology will inevitably bring good in live saving medications, operations, and entertainment, so stopping its progress is not only impossible, it is foolhardy.

too many posters?

too many posters?

Unethical Plastic Surgury?

Unethical Plastic Surgury?

Too many posters?
This is why I have based my project on educating participants about altering visuals and health issues.  My project, which lets people step into a fatter or skinnier version of their own bodies, can also educate people about obesity and anorexia, and encourage people to change their health habits.  More importantly, this device shows the fickleness of human perspective and the human desire to like the immediate.  Being able to step into an alternate form of ones own body can help one realize their own plight (of say, obesity) and aim for something that they once had.

BY: Jason Kwok

Week 5 _ Midterm Review _ Sarah Van Cleve

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

The past few weeks we’ve been learning about science under the umbrella topic of “two cultures.” The idea of two cultures is how we connect the largely science based material that we’ve been learning about with art. For this reason we spent most of Week One discussing how art and science can be and perhaps should be very closely related even though they are not often seen that way in our society. Since then we have been focused on different aspects of science while looking for connections to art on the side. Week Two’s material was based in Mathematics and Perspective. We looked at mathematical constants like pi and how they can significantly affect beauty in things like seashells and bodily proportions. Here there is a natural connection between art and fact-based science but in other subjects we had to make more of an effort to find associations. The topics for Week Three were the Industrial Age and robotics. We discussed great scientists and great discoveries of the past and then talked about the amazing advances in the field of robotics today. Though it is hard to argue that your ordinary robot is a piece of art, we found several ways to show that the creators of robots can be artists. One “artist”/robot manufacturer gave his robots distinct facial expressions while another artist composed a choreographed dance for his robots to perform in sync.


Above is an image of the dancing Sony robots that we watched perform in a video during class.

In any piece of science that was innovative we managed to find some artist creativity. Then we moved on to learning about the human body and medicine in Week Four. Professor Vesna lectured about new medical technologies and the sometimes questionable ethics involved. We looked at plastic surgery in particular as a form of art and debated whether it is ethical to transform the human body in such extreme ways even for the sake of “art.”

In my midterm project I took the same approach of focusing on the science and incorporating the art quietly. My project is an exhibit called “Hypoxic Waters” which is essentially an experience that educates participants on the serious problems caused by pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Still, I think my exhibit can be called art. I believe that art is creativity and inspiration. While my exhibit is focused mainly on learning about science and factual problems facing the health of the Bay I think that it’s art in that it is meant to inspire. “Hypoxic Waters” is supposed to help people understand the challenges facing underwater organisms in the hopes that they will become educated on the subject and maybe even inspired enough to take action and seek political support.

Sarah Van Cleve

Week_3 Robots from Childhood and Now by John Philip Bongco

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Webster’s Dictionary defines robots as being “mechanical devices that sometimes resemble humans and are capable of performing a variety of often complex human tasks on command or by being programmed in advance”. I think my earliest memory of a robot is of the Nintendo Robotic Operating Buddy (or R.O.B.). R.O.B. served as a Nintendo gaming console accessory in the late 1980s (specifically in 1985). It came with two playable games and received gaming commands by detecting optical flashes produced by a television screen. Yes, R.O.B. may have seemed like a revolutionary gaming product at the time, but it certainly did not keep up with the way robots were and would be portrayed in films in the following years.

Contemporary movies generally depict robots as having abilities that do not seem possible: super strength, artificial (or real) intelligence, expressing emotion, taking over the earth, etc. In Bicentennial Man, Robin Williams’s character Andrew Martin goes on a quest to become human. He ends up getting the proper surgery to express emotion and have organs that are similar to humans. I guess it makes sense for researchers, engineers and scientists to be a little disappointed when we realize and acknowledge that our technology is not quite there yet. On the other hand, we have made some great advancement. In a sense, many machines can imitate human tasks that are a lot more efficient through the use of these highly-developed pieces of technology. In addition, we see them or these things in entertainment as already mentioned.

I just like the idea of taking a step back and appreciating the technology that we have—technology that should also be appreciated and analyzed as art. For example: animatronics (and robots in general) that we see in theme parks and the kinds of things Walt Disney enjoyed creating. Did you know that the Walt Disney employee Lee Adams was the first to make the audio-animatronics that we see at Disneyland? This includes the stuff that we love from childhood like: “It’s A Small World”, “Indiana Jones”, “Splash Mountain,” “Space Mountain”, etc. As a child, I was in awe of how real the rides look and even—at times—believed that I was in completely different world on some of the rides. Now, I appreciate the time Imagineers (the engineers that put Disney rides together and work in over 100 other engineer-based disciplines under Disney) took to give rides so much detail and such a realistic feel.  People should take into consideration the lighting, mechanics, sculpting, architecture, etc. that go into making these rides such a great experience for the millions that visit Disneyland each year. I will never forget how breath taking the beginning of the “Indiana Jones” ride at Disneyland is and the robots that were used to make it such a huge thrill.



By: John Philip Bongco

Week3- Industrial Advancement and Literary Modernism

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

In English literary history, the period spanning roughly between 1900 and 1925 that is often referred as an era of modernism is a particular interesting collaboration with the theme of this week. Moreover, the writers and artists of this period were acutely aware that the world around them was changing profoundly with technological advancement, and purposefully set about creating new ways to express themselves in this new era. One example is George Eastman patents the Kodak box camera in 1888 that reshapes the whole spectrum of what painting used to be. The introduction of photography, which is easier and cheaper to obtain, challenges artists to revolutionize their works from naturalistic and realistic portray of objects themselves into abstract emotions and tangible feelings at a particular time or space. To overcome this constraint, artists borrow concepts from Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity that published in 1905 with its revolutionary model of non-Euclidean Fourth-Dimensional space-time. Subsequently, artists such as Picasso and Georges Braque began work in Cubism in 1908 and Filippo Marinetti proclaimed the first manifesto of Futuralism in Paris in 1909. It is also needless to say the advancement on transportation and communication networks have sped up the exchange of ideas between scientists and artists across continents within hours than months.

To bring a point back to the lecture on Thursday, I am not quite sure how Professor Vesna wants us to get from the lectures, but clearly I have seen how computer science and graphic animation and effects have been adopted heavily in Hollywood films such as Matrix or Transformers to create a sense of cutting edge fashion. Of course, perhaps it’s just me whose ignorance on both spectra over-clouds my vision to diagnose the complementary similarities or differences between science and art, or I shall be frank that I have little taste in analyzing them separately: Overall, I see a harmonious work made with the collaboration of scientific ideas and artistic innovations. To what extent of specification can I draw upon the differences? Honestly, I don’t know~

Many of my classmates talk about robotics in their blogs, but I don’t see how art is adopted in designing robots (well at least not with its mechanical functions; certainly it plays a big part when it comes to marketing and packaging). In my opinion, the attempt to generalize every aspect of life with a stigma of art and science is absurd and blunt. Without a clear definition of science and art, we have no basis to neither draw upon judgment nor make comparisons. Bottom line, we can only use word like “beautiful” to describe something is artistic and “cool” as a synonym for science. But isn’t that absurd?

By Wei-Yi Lin


Saturday, January 10th, 2009

I have just fixed the login issue for everyone in section A. Your default password is desma9 (all lowercase). Please log in and update your password to something else.

Also, I’m pretty sure we asked you to use your own name as your user-name. Please follow this rule otherwise I won’t be able to give you a grade for your work.

Any other issues regarding login please just email me.



Thursday, January 8th, 2009

please register here… your username should be your first and last name as is appears on your student ID (i.e. ‘james bond’)