Week 2_Maths, Art, and Biological Data Visualization_Wenjing Wu

Most people tend to take it for granted that the form of art is wild and free with pure imagine. However on Tuesday Prof. Vesna talked about the artful beauty expressed by mathematics, a discipline which is usually linked to a bunch of formulas and rules. The part of perspective grasped my attention immediately, since that was also the topic of my drawing lessons this week. Our assignment was to draw a picture with four different perspectives. From Duccio and Giotto’s first attempt of introducing perspective into art, to Duerer and Vemeer’s  masterpieces that followed strictly to the mathematical rule, to the modern art styles like Cubism, which totally heads the opposite way of perspective, and then the way of teaching perspective in today’s drawing classes, artists are employing maths as useful tools and sometimes frames to break in order to creat “hacking” effects. I found a website discussing similar issues on maths and arts in National University of Singapore(poke me).

Do you see the strange object on the floor? Close your left eye, put your face close to the computer screen near the right side of the picture. You will then see a skull!

Do you see the strange object on the floor? Close your left eye, put your face close to the computer screen near the right side of the picture. You will then see a skull!

Artists use geometrics to fool our eyes, too. The famous painting above would be a perfect illustration. Besides that, there are also some artists using  Anamorphosis to produce astonishing 3D illusions, like Julian Beever.

On Thursday, our TAs talked about good jobs done by several students and also introduced briefly what they were working on. What I found the most intriguing is the part of John and Gautam’s–Biological Data Visualization. The works are simply COOL! As a senior student major in biotechnology, I know how overwhelming the biological data could become if it’s not well-organized–for example, our genome is consists of 80,000~10,000 genes, which roughly equal to 3000,000,000 base pairs. Moreover, since there’are needs to study biological process on different scales, organization and visualization turn out to be extremely urgent for biologists.  Some of the works appear to be very interesting, such as a project from the University of Tokyo(figure 2) and the research of Institute for Systems Biology (ISB).

Figure 1. High-Precision Three-Demensional Bio-Structure Modeling

This project enables the observer to track the distributions of different ingredients of foods through Internal Structure Microscope. Here, scientists is utilizing artful presentations to reveal its secret. As for the artists who are interested in latest scientific or philosophical ideas, as Henderson concludes in “Geometry in Modern Art”, are motivated by a desire to complete their subjective experience by inventing new aesthetic and conceptual capabilities. I suppose this might be a better answer for Gauvain.

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