Midterm Blog_Wei-Yi Lin

My understanding of this course is to learn about what makes the media art and the process of which media art can be designed by cross referencing the similarities and differences between art, science, and technology. This notion of perspective overlap is powerful and as a student, I feel obliged to go into the depth in these areas, grasping onto the fundamental ideas. My midterm presentation “Chamber of Fear: tragic catharsis” serves a platform of my wild imagination but at the same time, to maintain a balanced sense of practicability. It is not just a testing stone to show my progress in this course; more importantly, the making of the presentation is like creating a testimony which expresses the ideas I want to communicate with my TA Adam Fingrut and professor Victoria Vesna.


First of all, let me be brief on what I have learned over the past four weeks: “Introduction, Two Cultures”, “Mathematics, Perspective, Time, and Space”, “Industrial Age, Kinetic Art, Robotics”, “Human Body and Medicine.” Among them, I find “Introduction, Two Cultures” and “Mathematics, Perspective, Time, and Space” somehow anchor the gravity of this course. C.P. Snow, who recounts his experience as a scientist surrounded by friends with literature backgrounds in “The Two Cultures”, argues that science and art are not mutually exclusive from one another. In fact, he uses himself as an example to illustrate that the interaction between science and art allows him to excel in two groups while he maintains his preference as a scientist. Without such an exchange, Snow claims that a scientist’s lack of sensibility would make him less understandable while an artist’s lack of practicability would make his work unrealistic. For instance, he cites an example of an equivalent importance between Shakespeare’s play to artists as the Law of Thermodynamics to scientists. Drawing from this example, I claim arrogance is fed by ignorance and when we are over proud of ourselves, we shut the door for further advancement.


Linda Henderson in the article “The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art: Conclusion” recaptures the importance of Snow’s claim (Week 2 reading). In her article, artists borrow the concept of the fourth dimension with respect to time from Albert Einstein’s Law of Relativity and come out with a new expression, which I called an expressionistic art (certainly being sparked during and after the era of modernism), apart from the Victorian sense of naturalistic expression. This is an interesting breakthrough because artists, especially painters, were challenged fatally by the the introduction of machinery during the industrial revolution, which is though discussed on week 3, and the camera. In fact, the spontaneous ability to capture physical expression with a relatively low cost of labor and time forces artists to seek something new. Among them, some seek scientific emphasis of time and successfully create a new genre. On the other hand, there is another group who decides to play another element of the fourth dimension: Space. Kandisky applies Non-Euclidean geometry heavily in his paintings while Pablo Picasso swings the concept to the far end of the extreme with Cubism.


Unfortunately, I don’t quite understand the objectives on Week 3 and 4 especially we spent the whole week 4 watching “Blade Runner.” It is an awesome movie, but to be frank, I don’t think it’s relevant because artificial intelligence, robots, and space excursion are no longer new as they were before when the movie was screened. So why show something that doesn’t produce any further insight, or something we have already known so well? Nonetheless, I absolutely appreciate and am delight watching the film; however, I must disagree that the connection between art and science is strong here. In fact, my ignorance remains.


Talking about my presentation. It’s based on a modernism theme I did on my literature honors class. Catharsis, in Greek, means purification. With a reference to Aristotle theory “On Tragedy”, I seek to implement a device that touches the sense of vision, smell, and movement which eventually collaborates and resonates to emotion. This emotion is attached or induced temporarily like a test drug on its experimental patient who reacts to it either constructively (recovery) or destructively (physical repulsion). Through gathering this sample of data, scientist can therefore draw a prediction of how human mind expresses itself under intense situation. But more importantly, it is to help people to reach to their innermost soul, or what I called the deep subconscious, which has played an important role in ways we perceive the world or decision making. I am seeking an ultimate point at which science is no longer science and art is no longer art -they fuse to perform an action that is so powerful that virtually anything can be understood.


Wei-Yi Lin

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