Week 5_Midterm and review_Long Lau

In the past few weeks we have covered quite a range of topics: from the polarity of the two cultures, to mathematical perceptions of upper dimensions, to industrial rise of robotics, to medical frontiers in cosmetics. Each of these topics intertwine in intriguing ways. The first week we were introduced to the groundwork of the opposition of art and science; how scientists view art has subjective and static while artists view science as fruitless pursuit of knowledge. We were, however, also introduced to the idea that the society today is built from advances of both cultures, that without either one, our world is incomplete. We were also shown that these two cultures are actually fundamentally connected; this is evident in week 2’s topic, mathematics. Science, besides being empirical, is also statistical and quantitative, and the discipline that governs statistical and quantitative analysis is math. Mathematicians are rather like artists: numbers areĀ  their pigments, mathematical operators are theirĀ  palettes, equations their canvas, and theorems their paintings. They are able to paint out beautiful patterns such as fractals and non-euclidean geometric shapes. Painters, on the other hand, are rather like mathematicians too, except they can do their calculations in their heads before they lay it out on canvas; with their perception of depth and perspective, they calculate optical angles that can transform everyday objects into lines and interceptions. Week 3 was about robots and their applications. Mathematics ties into this because the programs that are used to run robots require softwares written by algorithms; furthermore, the very method of cybernetic communication is using long chains of 0’s and 1’s. Robots may seem to be disconnected from art because theyfunction by routine and lack an element of creativity. But with the advancement of technology, who is to say that one day we won’t develop artificial intelligence and bio-computers? With that we moved on to week 4 where we discussed the human body and medicine. While scientists (reductionists) think of the human body as a intricate, efficient working machine with cognitive abilities, artists view it as a piece of natural sculpture that moves through time. Either way, the human body is a unification of both cultures because it is where both originate and also where the stage lies for both to perform on. An example where both fields converge is cosmetic surgery.

My project is called “Lost in the Centre of Infinity”; I am interested in travelling to other dimensions. With current technology, this is obviously impossible, if not unimaginable; however, using the right tools, we may actually simulate such a journey. Using computer simulators that generate mathematical manifolds and complex surfaces and project them onto multiple screens that surrounds the participant in a 360 degree manner, the participant will feel immersed inside one of these virtual mazes. To further simulate a feeling of being “lost”, the exhibition is installed aboard a microgravity simulating aircraft like the ones used by NASA for their free-fall experiments. The addition of apparent weightlessness will erase all senses of directions felt by the participants and they will truely feel like they have entered into another dimension. This project utilizes knowledge from mathematics for writing the computer program as well as knowledge from medicine for physiological effects of microgravity. It will also inform and educate the participants of the union of arts and sciences.

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