Archive for the ‘Week2_North/SouthMixer_ExtraCredit’ Category

Extra_Credit North/South Mixer: a Post-Class reflection by Richard Jin

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

North/South Mixer –

Ten weeks ago, I went to the North/South Mixer with a couple of the people I had just met in class. I think reflecting on this experience ten weeks later – because like a typical college student I’ve procrastinated this post to the max – it brings a different perspective on the event than if I blogged about it immediately afterwards.

Upon entering the CNSI building, I had no idea what to expect. How many of the people would be from class? Would I be able to carry on an extended conversation with any of them? However, when I walked in I was surprised to see that the majority of the audience consisted of adults. There were a couple of students clustered here and there, but I could tell that it was a little awkward. I joined in on a group of people from our class and we introduced ourselves – our names, majors, interests. We were a very eclectic group of students, business/econ majors, biochemistry majors, engineering majors, material science majors, and history majors. After the traditional greetings were made, there were a lot of awkward pauses. I could tell most of us were trying to think of something interesting to say to break the silence; however, nothing came to mind. In the end we resorted to asking “So, what do we do now? Are we supposed to mingle with the adults?” Most of us were confused, it was supposed to be a mixer, but after all of the formal introductions we had run out of things to say.

 Fortunately, we there was an art exhibit there for us to explore.  We walked through the nanoparticle/speaker exhibit and once again, were utterly confused. What followed was perhaps the most interesting part of the night. We all tried to figure out what the white speakers were saying to us, what it meant, and what the purpose of the exhibit was. Coming from different backgrounds, it was interesting to note the various interpretations each of us had and how we went about analyzing the exhibit. I felt as if the north campus majors were more interested in what the speakers were actually saying, whereas the south campus majors were trying to figure out how the sensors worked. Together I felt as if we thoroughly dissected the piece, and many people brought to my attention a lot of things that I didn’t even consider exploring. In the end we decided what the speakers actually said corresponded to our proximity to the speaker box sensors. There was nothing unique about it. It didn’t matter who stood in front it, the set of speakers just ran an audio clip on loop.

In the end, we decided even though collectively we figured out how it worked, we couldn’t understand the purpose of the exhibit. But it was this artwork that brought our minds and focused it to a common goal.

I contrast this experience/mixer to the one that I just came back from - the mixer at CNSI right after the last lecture. I looked around the room and I realized we weren’t so awkward around each other anymore. We have plenty to say, perhaps it was the realization that between us, there isn’t a huge chasm, but rather, despite our different interests, they can and are related in one fashion or another. My group of friends joined another group of people and we talked about various topics discussed in class – the interesting, the dull, and our perspectives on its purpose in the world.

Juxtaposing these mixers, it is evident that the class has opened up our eyes, and broadened our scope of view; there is no longer strictly a north or south campus, but rather, an intermingling of both.

by Richard Jin

Week2: North/South Mixer by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Seeing as I am late in posting this anyways, I thought it would be nice to post a photoblog with soem commentary for a change. Enjoy!


A snapshot of the festivities running amok during the mixer

A snapshot of the festivities running amok during the mixer

TA John Carpenter getting interactive with media art, literally.

TA John Carpenter getting interactive with media art, literally.


The towers remind me of the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Such power, such intrigue.

The towers remind me of the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Such power, such intrigue.


A peek inside the art piece's mainframe.

A peek inside the art piece's mainframe. Random thought: Could the universe secretly be part of a mainframe?

The exhibit made me wonder: Could the future of advertising rely on sensors to get their word across like these monoliths?

The exhibit made me wonder: Could the future of advertising rely on sensors to get their word across like these monoliths?

Once engineer, now artist develops a "power glove" per say with some aesthetically pleasing features.

Once engineer, now artist develops a "power glove" per say with some aesthetically pleasing features.

Week 2: Mathematics and Art- Matt Kramer

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

This week we learned a lot about how math and art often collide and work with one another to produce great works.   We saw many examples in class of painters that incorporated geometry and algebra, among other types of math, in order to structure and create beautiful works of art.  We saw how proportionality plays a very large role in creating art, as a man and woman’s faces can be altered based on just changing a few proportional characteristics.  The YouTube video we watched showed an example of how this was true.  The video creator used a computer editing program to alter the proportions of celebrities’ eyebrows, chins, and hairline, and he was able to instantly transform a woman into a man.  This among other class examples, made me realize how an artist that attempts to accurately represent objects and people in their paintings needs to have superior knowledge of mathematics and proportional ratios to succeed.  

Leonardo Da Vinci was a master at utilizing and math in order to better his works.  



Both of these works incorporate the use of the golden ratio, which is indeed one of the most pivotal and amazing discoveries in both mathematics and art.  The Mona Lisa, which is this three dimensional work by Da Vinci, is regarded by many people to be one of the greatest works of all time.  The characteristics of her facial qualities and the brush strokes create a vivid painting that seems to look at you.  But what is more impressive is the accuracy of his portrayal of a woman, and one that seems vivid and alive.  It seems logical that math would be used to improve art but I would never have thought that so many artists would utilize it to its full benefit.  This relates to last weeks topic and discussions on how closely art and science are related, but that many choose to ignore the relation, or are simply unaware of it.  You would not normally think that painters, sculptors, and all different types of artists would use math and science in their works.  Similarily, as has been throughly discussed, our campus is polarized into two different sections, and you would not expect people to venture back and forth between the two, taking interest in both the arts and sciences.  

Now that people all over are aware of the correlations between math and art, it can contribute to a new[er] age of different art.  Art that uses math and the golden ratio and all types of proportionality can transform and develop in many ways in the future.  What is exciting to me, and I anticipate, is how art will in the future be able to really incorporate the “fourth dimension.”  It will be exciting to learn more about math and art in upcoming weeks.

By Matt Kramer

Week 2- North/South Mixer- Idy Tam

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

After attending the North/South Mixer event, I began to be less narrow minded about the art field. I really enjoyed seeing younger children getting involved and understanding the two cultures because I sometimes wish that my parents had exposed me to more events like this, when I was younger. Because when I was younger, my parents pushed me to focus in the science field that I never had the chance to understand everyday life in an artist’s perspective. The North/South Mixer event at the California Nanosystems Institute, that is held each quarter, is a wonderful lesson for people like me who have misconceptions about the other culture.

I was walking around the exhibition with my sister, who is also taking DESMA 9, and we saw a crowd of people around the speakers that were amplifying loud, gibberish noises. I especially enjoyed this part of the exposition because in a way I thought those sounds were therapeutic. I would like a soundtrack of these sounds in my iPod, so I can listen to it while I do yoga. But these sounds were no ordinary sounds; in fact, these sound waves were passed across “micro-quartz crystals,” and this technology has a chip that detects different lengths of sound waves. After detecting these different lengths of waves, the sound waves are then distorted and amplified out through the speakers, creating soothing sounds.

I also found the videos about art and nanotechnology eye-catching because I had the opportunity to understand more about nanotechnology— the direct control of matter on an atomic scale, in which scientists can incorporate this technology to advance in medicine– that target the molecular errors that cause disease, rather than treating the symptoms of illness, electronics and innovations for the environment. In the first lecture, I remember Professor Vesna talked about her involvement with nanotechnology but I had no idea exactly what it was, but after attending to this event, I understand more the place nanotechnology holds for our future. In addition, in these video clips, I can see the “art” aspect behind nanotechnology.

The North/South Mixer was an interactive experience for both artists and scientists to get a better understanding of each other’s field. This exhibition, with the purpose of creating a third culture, was worth-while, with great food, and I will definitely attend to it next time!

I would also like to make a comment on the lecture this week on Mathematics, Perspective, Time & Space. I really found the video on extremely appealing. The idea that fractals and Fibonacci ratio that surround our daily lives, such as nature and the stock market, the divisions of our body and the way a human mind functions, is extremely stunning to me.

In this video, I liked how someone is attempting to apply the Fibonacci ratio (Math) to music (art). I am currently trying to discover objects that surround us that somehow correlate both math and art together. I am currently plotting the molar mass of each element in the periodic table to see if the number of protons to atomic weight increases in a pattern of a spiral.

-Idy Tam

Week 2 North/South Mixer, Lectures and Discussion By Mary Tam

Friday, January 16th, 2009

In this week’s entry, I want talk about the North / South Mixer and Particle Group Exhibition that was held on Wednesday night, the lectures during class, and discussion. First of all, I really liked the mixer. It was located at the California Nanosystems Institute and was hosted by CNSI. People of different disciplines interacted with each other and enjoy a night together with food and cocktails and interesting stories to share with each other. This event brought the sciences and art closer together. When I was there, I felt I was experiencing something I have not experienced before. As a Biology major or south campus major, I rarely get the chance to talk and interact with people from the arts major or north campus major. Because of this event, I got a better understanding of the other people with different interests. The event was very successful. The Particle Group is a collective that draws from the hard and social sciences to expand installations that are critically engaged with the politics and poetics of nano-science and its market. Their main objective is to spread the idea of the lack of regulation of nanoparticles in consumer goods. The people at the exhibit were very friendly and showed others how the Particle Sniffer system works. The Particle Interest showed the non-scientists how science works.

During the North/South Mixer, I remembered what I learned during my discussion on Tuesday with John. So I really want to mention about it. During discussion, we discussed about the existence of the divider between the two cultures. C.P. Snow stated many types of stereotypes between the two cultures. To some extent, I believe that some of them are true. John showed us some pictures on the stereotypic scientist and artist. Urkel was one of his examples. I think that people who do not know much about science would know that Urkel represents the “brainiac” or the nerdy scientist. Also John showed us a picture of a man with a beret to be the typical artist. What about the people in between? There are many people who identify themselves to be more associated with either group but they are not truly a scientist or artist. There are many occupations and subjects that incorporate both sciences and art. One that I kept thinking of as John was discussing about the two cultures is architecture. My friend is studying civil engineering hoping to become an architect in the future. I asked her many questions on what classes she take and what her interests are. She told me she has to take many art classes and she has to take art history. Besides art classes, she has to take chemistry, physics and math. I asked if it is hard to do, she told me it was. But she loves how she can learn both science and art at the same time. Other subjects like Biochemistry or Electrical engineering do not have that many chances to take other courses outside their discipline. The North/South mixer got me thinking about how I should have continued taking art classes and piano lessons. The reason why I stopped was because school got in the way and I forced myself to focus more on math and science. Don’t get me wrong, I love math and science, but I want to learn more about art and subjects outside my discipline. The lecture on Tuesday was also very interesting. I learned that the number zero was seen as the devil in the Middle Ages.

By Mary Tam

Art and Science Interaction

The Mixer by Piero Vallarino Gancia

Friday, January 16th, 2009

After a brief survey of some colleagues after a Desma 9 lecture, it is possible to infer that most people have no real idea of what the works of art shown in this class — from professor Vesna’s Quantum Tunnel to John’ Mouse imaging — are all about. People, including myself, understand the class but do not see how such works bridge scientific and artistic discipline into one final product. I went to the Fourth Quarterly North/South Campus Mixer with the hope of shedding some lights onto these doubts.

The mixer was located at the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI) and had the intent of mixing people from across disciplines and geographies. It is interesting to note that the geography mentioned is both the geographic disparities existing on campus and in the world. This contributed to a very interesting mix of people which I could easily engage in conversation with as I am myself an international student from Brazil.

My first impression of the mixer was fantastic: I have to confess that I did not imagine such an informal setting. It was more of a party than anything else. A biochemist I was talking to clarified: “You know, because we’re working all the time we don’t want another lecture or meeting. It’s more fun to be in this kind of atmosphere and sometimes you’ll find that it is in this kind of setting that people are most productive and confident. Plus, you can always make some friends at places like these.” The food was great too.

The artwork exhibited was “Particles of Interest” an interactive installation of multilingual meditations on nanotechnology, culture and property that creates a “sonic simulation” of particle data scanning gestures and illuminated nanoscripts for iPod nano videos.

The artwork is from a congregation of scientists and artists called the “Particle Group” which aims to “apply artful techniques to the scientific to the scientific representation of industrial development that is publicly available. By recombining what is rational and impulsive [they] come up with situations and media designed to reawaken the question of what we know about what we are surrounded by, use, buy etc…” This specific installations attempts to shed light on the lack of regulation of nanoparticles in consumer goods and especially to “alert the individual to the level of trans-patented particle traces that have been found on him or her” since toxicological literature indicates that nanoparticles have a greater risk of toxicity than larger particles.”

The aim of this work is thus to represent science in an artistic form available to people who do not have the same intimacy that a scientist dedicated to the field would.

However, I would not have had a great night would my initial quest not been fulfilled. I set foot to the mixer to try to understand this new kind of art, the media art and I believe I was successful in my mission. After speaking with a few people who did not understand how the work was a piece of art and how it bridged the disciplines it claimed to I came across an interesting individual who was very much acquainted with the “Particle Group”. I was under the impression it would e a scientist that would help me find my answer but ironically it was a painter.

“This kind of art is not in search of a final, end result. Don’t look at what is being shown but how it is being shown for there resides its true beauty.” At first it sounded more poetic than true but after some thought it made perfect sense. Like Visualizing Diffusion Tensor Images of the Mouse Spinal Cord using Van Gogh brushstroke representation this kind of art does not have so much focus on what it does compared to as how it does it. Ultimately, the art comes from the ability to think outside the box and find such ways of representing complicated concepts in easy ways.



Week 2_North/South Mixer_Wenjing Wu

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

2009-01-14_north___south_mixerThis quarterly North/South Mixer,  located in Californiz Nanosystems Institute, is held today in the hope of ”mixing” people “from across disciplines and geographies”.090114-north-south-mixer-009

I think most people today went there for more than the food because the lobby of C(N)SI was so noisy that the sensors in PITMM’s art piece became soundwave-overloaded.
Introduction to Particle Sniffer

The *Partical Sniffer/Partical Profiler* prototype developed by the *particle group*, is a sniff-scan technology that captures nano scale elements, such as carbon 60, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that have clustered on or beneath the skin of individules who have unknowingly been using nano-based particle products ranging from transparant Suntan lotions, a large number of skin care products, and a wide variety of makeup products to some type of fabrics(800 products and counting world wide).

The *Particle Sniffer* sonic-simulation installation is based on a nano-sized surface acoustic chip, wich works by disturbances in sound waves as they pass across micro-quartz crystals. This *dog on a chip* is coated with a thin layer of cloned antibody proteins that bond to specific particles, such as carbon 60. The sound waves passing through that sensor can then be compared with an uncoated control crystal: differences in the waves mean the chip has picked up trace amounts of the target particles.

I tried to walk through the installation and turned around especially when in front of the sensors–just like what everyone was doing–and I heard a blast then some voices coming out from the speakers. They seemed like speaking different foreign languages. I could only figured out that the arc in the middle said “No nano materials”. Most audience showed their strong interests by walking by every column and making comments.


Everybody is excited.



Nina, the artist, is showing a young visitor how the whole system works.

The exhibition also included video clip showed on several ipods. All about art issues and contemplation over nano technology.
090114-north-south-mixer-021090114-north-south-mixer-017I decided to do an informal interview with the audience and it turned out to be very benefitial.

I did my interview with Gauvain, an engineer from the court of science. He was very well informed of the topic and purpose of this “mixer” yet when asked about his feeling about the *Particle Sniffer* he said he was confused and he hadn’t read the introduction thoroughly. Because the introduction of this art piece was printed with low contrast to the background on a tiny piece of paper. Gauvain suggested that there should be more large posters and explanations on each column telling people what’s going on, what every part of the column functions, and why they are speaking different languages. Besides that, Gauvain’s another concern was how this art piece contributed to arts. It is obvious, he stressed, that the *Particle Sniffer* was no doubt helping the public feel involved in nano technology and introducing science to non-scientists. But what about art? Isn’t it supposed to be a dialogue rather than a monologue? My guess on this question is that by the process of showing curiosity and detecting the nano particles on their body, every participating individules will able to communicate with the artist and explore more abouth themselves. Drawing the attention of public, orienting their emotion and thoughts, that’s what art does.

–by Wenjing Wu