Week 5 _ Midterm Review _ Sarah Van Cleve

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

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