Week 5_Midterm_by Crystal Lin

The “Art, Science, and Technology” class is designed to introduce students to the cultural impact of scientific and cultural innovations, including technology-driven art inspired by science, and other art/science collaborative projects. Professor Vesna began the class on the topic of “Two Cultures.” Two Cultures refers to the separation between the arts and the sciences, and the respective stereotypes that have come to be attributed to the two. Today, artists and writers are known to be creative, unrestrained and original. Scientists are known to be precise, mathematical, and procedural. When you picture a member of the arts, you may see a dancer, but when you picture a member of the sciences, you most likely see a mad scientist with goggles and bubbling chemicals. Even at UCLA, South Campus majors are stereotyped to have more homework and a harder course load than North Campus majors. People like Professor Vesna are hoping to bridge the gap formed by the “two cultures”.

Though there is a lot of talk about how different the two fields may be, art and science can be, and is in many cases, interrelated. In Week 2, “Mathematics, Persepctive, Time and Space” was the topic. Science mixed with art in all these respective cases. The fourth dimension is a scientific discovery that opens an entirely new field for artists. Perspective in art has to do with vision and the eye, both scientific studies. As in the case with fractals, mathematical equations used to create beautiful and unique pieces of art. These topics can be seen as using science in art, where art is the main purpose, and science is just one of the means used to create the art. The opposite is apparent in many cases as well.

Scientific discoveries go on undoubtedly every day. When the field of art is brought in, these discoveries can become more efficient, and aesthetically pleasing as well. This can be seen in Week 3’s topic, “Industrial Age, Kinetic Art, and Robotics”. For example, robots have been a dream invention in the scientific world for many years. In the beginning, movies had robots that were big, bulky, box-y, and unattractive, but innovatively cool. Now, the arts have established a strong influence over the design of robots, and movies like iRobot show sleek, smooth, efficient, and more human-like robots. In this case, it is like science is the main purpose, and art is just one of the means used to make it more appealing.

One of the most easily identifiable mixes of art and science is the topic of Week 4, the human body. Our bodies are a beautiful, intricate, and complex work of science and art. Multiple systems in our body run separately and together in a way that allows us to live, breathe, think, move, and so much more, which is truly an art form in itself. Doctors use their skills to make sure that this art form continues to function to the best of its ability. The Hippocratic Oath is taken by doctors to ensure they practice their art with their best knowledge and ability, and always keep in mind and respect the privacy and well-being of their patients.

My project, “Jell-O Electrophoresis,” combines the fields of science in art as well, bridging the gap created by the “two cultures”. The scientific process of gel electrophoresis is used by scientists to separate DNA strands, RNA strands, and/or protein molecules by applying an electric current through a semi-porous gel matrix. This separation is used for other processes like cloning, DNA sequencing, and Southern blotting. Gel electrophoresis can also be used to identify a culprit in a crime scene, as a high school lab class usually does (DNA samples from 3 different pens are compared with a suspect’s DNA). In using this process with Jell-O as the semi-porous gel matrix, I can go crazy with what designs I want to create in jell-o mold. My art skills and creativity can then come in to play.

The jell-o electrophoresis project is similar in concept to crystal laser etching. In both, a 2D or 3D image is created within a solid to make it seem like the image is floating in the middle of it. In crystal laser etching, many intricate designs are created by taking in to account mathematics, space, and especially perspective and dimensionality. In order to get the image to look exactly like you want it from all angles, the dimensions must be very precise, and especially in a 2D image, the perspective must be accounted for at all times.

-Crystal Lin

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