Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Andre Magsino’

Extra Credit: Digitizing and Manipulating Sound by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Extra Credit: Digitizing and Manipulating Sound by Ryan Andre Magsino

At the Sound and Science Symposium, Curtis Roads, a composer of electronic and electro-acoustic music specializing in granular and pulsar synthesis, author, and computer programmer, touched base on sound and how it can begin one thing and evolve as another. Specifically, he reflected on his own background in the rise of digital sound and visualization.

The Man of the Hour (the length of his lecture anyways...)

Curtis Roads, The Man of the Hour (the length of his lecture anyways...)

Today, most of us have a microphone attached to our laptops/notebooks. However, such an idea would have been refuted decades earlier. Prior to the boom of personal computing, most audio recording, synthesizing and rendering were done on a top notch network of processors. Roads revealed that the idea of a personal computer performing the same function was outrageous at the time, but it did not stop computer manufacturers. And so, the ability to digitize sound was made available to those who could afford and understand it.

On the forefront of such technological breakthrough was Curtis Roads. His initial attraction to computer music was prompted by “a fascination with algorithmic composition processes tightly coupled with digital sound synthesis.” As an audio-technician per say, Roads utilized Gabor’s sonic model in which Gabor observed all sound can be viewed as a combination of elementary functions bounded in frequency and time. Roads spoke of his endeavor to take the model into digital context. And so, Roads felt the” notation of electronic (/digital) music is often graphic rather than symbolic.”

Of the many products Roads has produced, he has developed both Creatophone, a system for spatial projection of sound in concert, and Creatovox, an expressive new instrument for virtuoso performance that is based on the synthesis of sound particles. But the important thing to take from this is the image and space visualization through audio. Roads was one of the developers interested in the isolating sound from specific areas in an environment. It is thanks to his work and many others that we have multi-channel and directional sound. In addition to this feat, Roads has also composed bits himself in which he assembles sonic fragments onto a timeline. To listen to some of his compositions, check out the following link: Hear Curtis Roads’ Subatomic Pop Symphonies

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How could we possibly take sound to the next level? Instead of merely being able to record sound onto different channels to emulate an environment, what if we were then able to re-isolate those sounds into specified areas to be heard? After watching a TED talk with Woody Norris, he has invented such a thing. Dubbed HyperSonic Sound, Norris has created a special phonograph which can focus sound at specific areas. The applications of such a product are limitless. And so, the potential of sound itself is also limitless in possibilities.

The HyperSonic Sound technology gives you the ability to direct sound where you want it and nowhere else.

The HyperSonic Sound technology gives you the ability to direct sound where you want it and nowhere else.

Extra Credit: Sound + Matter = Life by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Extra Credit: Sound + Matter = Life by Ryan Andre Magsino (Sound and Science Symposium)

Let me first start by pointing out the film which I will be referring to (all of which is available online):

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05Io6lop3mk
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahJYUVDY5ek
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4jUMWFKPTY

“(The Film) has no characters, it has no people…it is to describe…the effect of Cymatic frequencies on texture, structure, water, oil. If you spare a little of your imagination as you watch the film as it runs, you will see many things that answer many questions.” - Introduction

From the film, it is deduced that sound is the basis of form and shape. From the way things align themselves to their motion, sound plays an integral part in their development. Through Cymatics, the study of wave phenomena, Swiss medical doctor and natural scientist, Hans Jenny documents how wave phenomena can supposedly “bring matter to life.” Not only does Dr. Jenny delve into the physical properties of sound, but deduces philosophical arguments stemming from the science’s significance.

Matter being subjected to wave phenomena.

Matter being subjected to wave phenomena.

After having watched the film, I cannot help but smirk when the thought of the universe forming from a “Big BANG” (emphasis on the bang). The idea of sound leading to the formation of just seems awfully redundant; but as Dr. Jenny showcases more and more examples of matter being passed through frequencies, I cannot help but arrive at such a conclusion. The implications of such a statement would be pretty grave. Does this mean to say that we are all just matter being passed through varying frequencies in this container we call the universe? If so, then could we somehow use this mentality on a macroscopic scale?

It would appear someone already came up with an answer to the previous question. Acoustic testing has many applications – one of which is used for the remedial measurements needed to bring a substandard structure up to the level required for compliance. This test is used quite commonly when engineering a building. Furthermore, it can assess how well designed and built the structure is and whether is it suitable for the intended purpose. Thus, the use of sound is essential to the development of structure especially in building a society.

An Acoustics Tester and Engineer from Stroma

An Acoustics Tester and Engineer from Stroma

Lastly, observing how sound plays a role in structure can easily be done with items found around the household. First, combine water and cornstarch to form a pasty compound. Next, place the compound inside a speaker. Last, play various frequencies through the speaker and watch the compound “come to life.” For reference, check out the following videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw4qklgNIxI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU7iuJ98fRQ

Extra Credit: Gastronomy, Our “Fast” Society and Education by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

ps_foodchemist_f

Extra Credit: Gastronomy, Our “Fast” Society and Education by Ryan Andre Magsino

How many times have you heard the phrase, “You are what you eat?” Maybe, just maybe, it is repeated time and time again for a reason. Joined by graduate and gastronome David Szanto, we took a plunge down the rabbit hole and looked at the art and science of gastronomy. Breaking the term gastronomy into its etymological roots, we arrive at gaster- meaning “stomach” and –nomos meaning “law.” In other words, gastronomy is the study of the relationship between culture and food.

At this point, you’re probably wonder, “Wait just a darn minute. Are you telling me that there are people who actually study this kind of thing?” Apparently, David Szanto does. He is a gastronome, a person who reads/writes about food. So then what differentiates him from the rest of us? Most of us read about food and comment on it with others. Well, as it would turn out, gastronomes put much emphasis on GOOD food. What exactly counts as good food?

Gastronome and Graduate David Szanto

Gastronome and Graduate David Szanto

Szanto himself hinted at an organization with a mindset on answering such a question – Slow Food. Originally spurred by Italians in response to the replacement of fine dining with fast food chains, the Slow Food movement and organization has spread throughout the world (over 218 chapters in the U.S. alone). They envision food as “a common language and a universal right.” Slow Food envisions a world “in which all people can eat food that good for them, good for people who grow it and good for the planet.” In somewhat of a direct response to the rise of fast food chains, USA Today comments, “Slow Food aims to be everything fast food is not.”

But in our endeavor of becoming a “fast” society – driving fast cars, making a fast profit, obtaining food as fast as possible – do we really have time to squabble with Slow Food’s vision? I hope so. If not, we jeopardize our environment and society subsequently. Food is linked directly to our environment. We need to safeguard society by enacting food-system sustainability. This type of ignorance isn’t anything new. The last time we ignored sustainability to push for a fast society ended up in the global warming controversy. Should we allow the same to be said about food?

Now what? What exactly are we to do? One word: “Education.” We need to educate ourselves and others about the need of food-system sustainability. But who are we supposed to turn to when our society is bought out by large fast food chains telling us what to think when it comes to food? (Admit it, the Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger commercial stimulated your taste buds.) Gastronomes, that’s who. But are gastronomes even qualified to provide that information? Nowadays, gastronomes can even earn a degree proving such a qualification from the University of Gastronomical Sciences located in Italy. It may seem trivial to become a professional foods person per say; but if we really thought about food (what’s in it and how it’s made), we would probably go crazy. Thus, maybe we should leave the insanity to gastronomes and take their word into consideration.

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To learn more about Slow Food, the University of Gastronomical Sciences, and other gastronomy related topics, visit the following links:

http://www.slowfood.com/

http://www.unisg.it/eng/index.php

Fast Food Nation

Week 9: Nanotech Insight, Applications and Implications. By Ryan Andre Magsino

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Week 9: Nanotech Insight, Applications and Implications. By Ryan Andre Magsino

“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

According to the authors of The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of Fact & Fiction in the Construction of a New Science, “In both the philosophical and visual sense, ‘seeing is believing’ does not apply to nanotechnology…” Such statement is clearly true concerning visually sensing nanotechnology at work due to the limitations of the naked eye. We can however contend through a philosophical sense that the saying, “seeing is believing,” can apply to nanotechnology. The origin of such a phrase most likely stems from ancient Greece, for their culture was very much inclined on visuals compared to the other senses. In addition, they were also the first to point out “seeing without seeing.” In a philosophical sense, they were referring seeing to the insight of knowing. Taking this reference into consideration, utilizing insight to hypothesize the existence of nanotechnology “looks” logical.

A nanobot, obviously fictional/conceptual, for now...

A nanobot, obviously fictional/conceptual, for now...

But why should we bother with something we cannot even see?

Typing in “Applications for Nanotechnology” into a search engine will yields thousands if not millions of entries. From improved medical diagnosis, chemical catalysts, energy efficiency to consumer goods, the list for useful applications goes on and on. Overall, the grand scheme of nanotechnology (molecular in particular) is the concept of producing anything given the materials. In some sense, it is as though we have discovered the missing piece in the art of alchemy, nanotechnology.

One interesting application for nanotechnology would be planetary terraforming. In Engines of Creation, Drexler hints at using (nano) machines to rid the world of pollution. “With replicating assemblers we will even be able to remove the billions of tons of carbon dioxide that our fuel burning society has dumped into the atmosphere.” What if we were to utilize these replicating assemblers for terraforming? By altering planets (i.e. Mars) or other heavenly bodies’ atmosphere, temperature, and ecology, such specified place could have the properties of a live-able environment similar to that of Earth. Could this be a solution to the imminent overpopulation on Earth?

The Terraformation of Mars, a reality with nanotechnology?

The Terraformation of Mars, a reality with nanotechnology?

What then? What will happen to society and the value in products?

If the future of nanotechnology results in the ability to produce anything given the initial materials to do so, change will be imminent. In an ideal world, the repercussions of such a scenario would be breathtaking. Several social and economic issues would then be resolved. For example, starvation would be a problem of the past since food can be easily assembled on a molecular scale. Furthermore, people will be judged by who they are rather than how much they are worth or what they possess due to the drop in material value.

Then again, I am ashamed to admit that we do not live in an ideal world. Rather, the actuality of this scenario would be to place limitations on nanotechnology. Especially since nanotechnology is not something that occurs naturally, inventions and designed systems in the field are completely up to be patented. Also, the technology will most likely only be available to certain nations or corporations. Thus only those with the technology will be able to profit.

Extra Credit: They’re Here! Who Knew?! by Ryan Andre Magsino

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Extra Credit: They’re Here! Who Knew?! by Ryan Andre Magsino

Are we blind? They’re all around us, yet most of the time we pay no heed to their existence. Why is this? More importantly, who or what am I referring to?

___________________________________________

The room was dark and eerie - only bursts of light illuminated certain stations along the wall. At each station was a console (a touch-screen Nokia 5900) handing atop sets of biological cultures in Petri dishes:

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“What was the point of all this? Is this seriously art? How is it art? Aren’t these just bacteria growing on a Petri dish?” These were just a few of the questions circulating through my mind. It was not until I turned around and read the text written upon the surface of the opposite wall did I begin to get a grasp on the significance of the exhibit:

dsc00001

So who or what was I referring to earlier? Invisible Earthlings, of course. Invisible Earthlings? Yes, you read that correctly. Well then, who are these Invisible Earthlings? Beatriz de Costa, the artist behind this exhibit, acknowledges them to be microbes. They are too tiny to see with the naked human eye, yet they are all around us – watching, waiting, consuming biological systems and then some. They easily outnumber our species billions to one. Yet why are these life forms often disregarded?

It would seem we humans really only care about things similar to us. Therefore, it would be hard to imagine a human caring for a microscopic bacterium compared to a kitten. Rather, humans in general tend to associate creatures who share distinct similarities as higher end life forms. Take for example a monkey compared to a snail. The similarities between a monkey and a human are striking, but the same cannot be said between a snail and a human. Yet, we wouldn’t really think twice cooking up some snails (to make some escargot) compared to grilling some monkey meat. Why then would we ever turn our eye to an even smaller less resembling life form, the microbe.

But what the artist Beatriz da Costa hoped to accomplish through her installment was to reintroduce these microbes to the unknowing and unaware public. For this exhibit was an investigation into the possibilities of relating between humans and members of the lived non-human worlds.

Me @ the Exhibit

Me @ the Exhibit

If she is the artist, then I am granted the role of the judge or critic by stumbling upon her work. In the end, I felt the piece utilized unnecessary components or lacked to fully explore the options available. This was easily seen in the “interactivity” of the piece. Other than being a waste of technology, the touch screen mini-tablets were merely used as a basic interface with barely any real interaction relating to the exhibit. Possibly, they could have been used as a virtual microscope. In doing so, we could virtually zoom in and in on a location and expose these invisible earthlings once and for all. Aside from this point and the challenge to see the bacteria in the dish with tape wrapped around it, the message was still strong. They are out there, so we should be aware of their existence.

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Week 7: Attitudes toward the Lives of Animals by Ryan Andre Magsino

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Week 7: Attitudes toward the Lives of Animals by Ryan Andre Magsino

Given the ability to reason and conceptualize, humans claim themselves as cognitive beings with a conscious. However, what of non-human animals? Do non-human animals exhibit any sense of consciousness or cognitive thought? If so/not, how should they be treated? Should they have the same living rights as a human? All these questions have arisen from analysis of this past week’s topic, “Consciousness & Memory,” and an insightful talk by guest speaker Siddharth Ramakrishnan. He prompted us to consider the connection between consciousness and living organisms. Specifically, he contends the existence of cognitive thinking or consciousness in non-human animals. Ramakrishnan utilized examples such as a cephalopod’s ability to cloak itself depending on the circumstances and how an elephant could recognize its reflection in a mirror as a means to justify his point of view. Ramakrishnan’s perspective is not necessarily the correct one nor is it the only one.

There are multitudes of viewpoints which address these imposing, over-arching questions. One common viewpoint is the recognition of consciousness in non-human animals. However, they are considered to have a smaller cognitive capacity in relation to humans. Therefore, humans are dominant over them and thus reserve the right to control them to their liking or not (Man’s Dominion View). Another viewpoint, the Animal-machine view, contends that non-human animals are like machines without souls and are thereby unable to think cognitively. Thus, humans are again entitled to use them as instruments to fulfill their purposes – whether it be their meat for food, their coats for clothing or even their companionship as pets.

A dog may be exhibit cognitive thinking, but is it thinking equal to or greater than that of a human?

A dog may be exhibit cognitive thinking, but is it thinking equal to or greater than that of a human?

Some perspectives choose to stress proper treatment while disregarding whether a non-human animal is consciously aware or not. Such a pro-life view would consider all forms of life as sacred. Therefore, humans should never have control over animals’ lives. Such thought was actually implemented in 17th century Japan when the shogun at the time, Tsuna-yoshi Tokugawa, actually made it illegal to intentionally harm any other living animal. Similarly though not as extreme, an animal right’s viewpoint would advocate for equality in treatment. One possible reasoning is the immeasurability of the level of conscious thought. By acknowledging both humans and non-human animals retain some cognitive thought, they should be considered equals.

As for philosophically backed viewpoints, we could look at either the Utilitarian or Kantian train of thought. According to a Utilitarian outlook, the basis of morality is sympathy and consideration for someone’s suffering and pleasure. If anyone, whether they are human or non-human, is suffering or feeling pain, we should try to reduce their suffering or pain. As for animals who have almost equal or clearer self-consciousness  compared with human newborns such as dolphins and primates, it is cruel to make them suffer just as it is cruel to make human babies suffer. Taking this point further, our viewpoints determine the way we perceive things. The following is a video on how such behavior affects how we determine whether an a non-human animal is cute or not: The Science of Cute. As for a Kantian approach, we must recognize the bad effects mistreatment would have on the human psychology. By treating non-human animals nicely, we avoid inciting cruelty into our own consciousness which could lead to offensive behavior to fellow humans.

Week 6: Biotechnology, Genetics, Animals and Youtube? by Ryan Andre Magsino

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Week 6: Biotechnology, Genetics and Animals by Ryan Andre Magsino

As the professor mentioned throughout the week, biotechnology, the fusion of one of the most applied sciences with modern day mechanics, encompasses an extensive portion of scientific advancement. In the same sense, it too has flooded the art scene by encouraging attempts to critique biotech implications and outcomes. Genetics, one of the sub-divisions of biotechnology which in itself is overly expansive, ups the ante in its controversial precedence; for biotech artists have been creating and developing “new art” involving living beings and systems. In addition to critiquing the science, these artists are then subject to scrutiny by pushing the ethical boundary of using biotechnology to pursue this “new art” of theirs.

Oftentimes, both biotech scientists and artists use animals as their catalyst. For scientists, the use of animals is nothing new. Even dating back centuries earlier, scientists would utilize the classical genetic procedure of hybridization in order to breed similar animals to obtain distinct traits. Nowadays, scientists can go above and beyond by removing the aspect of “chance” held by classical genetics. Scientists today work on a molecular level. In doing so, they can pinpoint specific traits to be included or excluded in an animal. What more, it is now possibly to genetically restore extinct species like the Ibex (despite it only living for 7 seconds). However, if we were to perfect this process, the possibilities would be endless. Especially with the “First Draft” of the Neanderthal Genome recently unveiled, we could bring back our alleged ancestors back to life.

If we could bring them back, why should we?

If we could bring them back, why should we?

In the same regard, some biotech artist claim genetically engineered animals as their supposed “new art.” Probably the most infamous case, which was also brought up in class, is Eduardo Kac and his GFP bunny. By implanting the green fluorescent protein (GFP) into the bunny, he claimed the bunny as a piece of transgenic art, “art form based on the use of genetic engineering to transfer natural or synthetic genes to an organism”. From this new art form rose several ethical questions which are still debated today. However, rarely do we ascertain the possible applications of such an idea. Predicting a future society in which animals and their clones coexist, one standard for cloning would be to transfer the GFP into cloned animals in order to differentiate between the cloned and originals. Presuming such technology would be utilized on humans, we would easily be able to pinpoint renegade clones such as the case in Blade Runner.

Should we mark all genetically created organisms with GFP to differentiate between natural and unnatural?

Should we mark all genetically created organisms with GFP to differentiate between natural and unnatural creations?

It is a little known fact that I am one of the editors for UCLA’s Youtube Channel. It just so happens that I am currently in the process of editing and uploading the course “Honors Collegium 70A.” This course, taught by Professor Bob Goldberg, is a joint university (UCLA and UC Davis) that peers into the historical and scientific study of genetic engineering in medicine, agriculture, and law, including examination of social, ethical, and legal issues raised by new technology. One of the unique methods of learning through this course is its student interactivity. No one is simply told what to believe. Rather they pose questions, formulate hypothesis and derive the context of such scenarios. Although none of the lectures are up as of yet, they are due soon. Therefore, I encourage everyone to visit [http://www.youtube.com/uclacourses] and [http://www.youtube.com/ucla] to check out this upcoming course as well as other courses I and my fellow editors have posted thus far. (Also, it would definitely please my boss if you would also subscribe to our channel).

Note: I was wondering if would be possible to have the prompt for the coming week be up and available by Tuesdays. I realize it may be vexing upon the moderator, but I often end up frantically writing a somewhat sloppy blog entry the night it is due since I have prior engagements scheduled during the weekend when the blog prompts are posted. Also, it would be nice to be able to formulate and develop thoughts concerning the prompt while digesting the weekly topic.

Week 4: A Filmmaker’s Oath by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Our Eyes, "the ultimate image recorder"?

Our Eyes, "the ultimate image recorder"?

Week 4: A Filmmaker’s Oath (Draft) by Ryan Andre Magsino

Although I have yet to proclaim a major/field of study, cinematography has always been one of my peak interests. From screenwriting to filming to editing, there are multitudes of techniques and reasoning behind them. Keeping in mind that the Hippocratic Oath was aimed toward the ethical practice of medicine, I too have drafted a somewhat similar oath but in relation to the the role of a filmmaker.

“I swear to upkeep, to the best of my ability and creativity, the following assertions:

I will respect the well-earned artistic feats of filmmakers in whose path I follow, and will gladly allow others who follow my path to bask in the knowledge of my own artistry.

I will incorporate, for the benefit of humanity, visual aesthetics in an attempt to appeal to the senses and emotions of a given audience.

I will recall that there is a science to film, not merely just an art, and that light exposure, camera focus and auditory resonance may overtake the screenwriter’s script or the editor’s planned rearrangement.

I will not be ashamed to state “I am unable,” nor will I merely compromise to such thought without ascertaining the extent of my resources.

I will respect the freedoms and rights of those portrayed in the footage so long as they allow me the freedom and right to pursue my own freedom of speech.

I will prevent unpreparedness whenever I can, albeit bringing a fully-charged spare battery, additional blank tapes, camera mount(s), proper lighting,…etc.

I will bear in mind that I too remain a member of society. As such, I hold the duty to contribute back by bettering or pleasing said society. (i.e. Producing footage that inspires or awes others)

So long as I do not violate this oath, allow me to take pleasure in life and art. May I be respected and revered not only for the product of my profession but for the thought put into producing it. Lastly, allow me to continue living through the thrills of filmmaking so as to stir others.”

Related Link: http://myweb.wvnet.edu/~jelkins/film04/theory.html (Directory filled with links on Film Theory)


Week 2: Math, The Bridge Between Art and Science by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Week 2: Math, The Bridge Between Art and Science by Ryan Andre Magsino

Math, seperate from the sciences?

Math, seperate from the sciences?

Mathematics (or simply Math) is “the systematic treatment of magnitude, relationships between figures and forms, and relations between quantities expressed symbolically.” Although the definition sums it up quite eloquently, it does not specifically convey its relation to the sciences or arts. As we have explored throughout the week, there are several mathematical applications to both fields. As early as the 15th century, math has been utilized in order to explain perception and space. Artists have built on this application to determine vanishing points and formulate other artistic techniques. Science, on the other hand, is all about quantity, structure and changes. From the amount of blood pumping through the human body to the assembly of elements in a molecule, mathematics has played a somewhat integral part in determining those values. What then is math, a science or an art? American mathematician Benjamin Pierce refers it to “the science that draws necessary conclusions.” Yet another mathematician, Godfrey Harold Hardy, is “interested in mathematics only as a creative art.” Though it may seem one-sided at times, mathematical applications such fractals tie in both fields making it somewhat of a bridge between the fields.

Before looking into its applications, it is essential to determine what a fractal actually is and how it works. According to famed French mathematician Benoît B. Mandelbrot who coined the term, a fractal is “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole,” however they can simply be defined as an image that could be infinitely found within itself. Fractals are often characterizes as having fine structures at arbitrarily small scales as well as being self-similar. A prime example of simple fractal would be the Koch Snowflake created by the Swedish mathematician Helge von Koch. It is created by first beginning with a single equilateral triangle then dividing all the sides into thirds thereafter. Last is replacing the center with a proportionate equilateral triangle. This process then continues onward for an infinite number of times.

Iterations of a Koch Snowflake

Iterations of a Koch Snowflake

Though we may be unaware, fractals have played a much larger and longer role in society than we have expected. Although it was only recently coined in the past century, American cyberneticist and ethno-mathematician Ron Eglash explores the implications fractals have left in African culture and society. ( Video - Ron Eglash: African fractals, in buildings and braids) Surprisingly, some African societies are structured in fractal iterations with multiple recursions. Looking now at modern technologies, fractals have also played a revolutionary role. It is due to fractal imaging we have such technologies as computer and video game imaging, especially when it comes to 3-dimensional modeling, and even fractal compression for image formats.

The first three iterations of the Square-flake

The first three iterations of the Square-flake

As for myself, I like to consider myself a mathematician (though nowhere as close as even amateur). Surprisingly, I along a few classmates in the past have developed a fractal we branded the “Square-flake.” Similar to the Koch Snowflake, the Square-flake is a fractal created by first beginning with a single square. In future iterations, the sides are cut into thirds with a square a third of the length on all sides is added to the given side. This process then continues onward for an infinite number of times. Taking it to a step beyond, we decided to integrate our fractal sequence and design. Our result was a fractal lamp. Taking the fractal to its third iteration, we were able to apply the concept into a work of art per say. (PDF: Square-flake Informational Pamphlet)

A photo of the fractal lamp unlit.

A photo of my fractal lamp unlit.

A photo of the fractal lamp lit up.

A photo of my fractal lamp lit up.

Related Links

Week 1: Me, “Two Cultures,” UCLA and Kinetic Sculptures by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Webcomics: Fusing Art and Science?

Web-comics: Fusing Art and Science?

Week 1: Me, “Two Cultures,” UCLA and Kinetic Sculptures by Ryan Andre Magsino

I like to consider myself a “Renaissance Man” or polymath if you will, for I persist in believing my knowledge is not restricted to merely one area of study. (Note: This probably explains why I am still Undeclared.) If I have accrued anything over these past few years, it is the passion in the fields of both the arts/humanities and the sciences/technology. Coming from a project based learning high school which stressed the integration of subjects from both fields, I am honored to brandish the products of my labor. Before coming to UCLA, I was actually working on something that was both artistic and science-related. Believe it or not, I was working on a video game per say. Although some may discredit video games as being related to either field, they fail to acknowledge the concept behind it. I find the key to a good game relies heavily on its aesthetic as well as the strength of the technology behind it. For this project, I programmed an enjoyable flash game that looked appealing while incorporating topics in chemistry. Players would learn actual concepts from chemistry and fictionally apply them in-game. (Note: To play the game as well as check out my weekly progression on the project, Click Here)

Although I hate to recognize it, there exists a divide amidst the fields of the arts and the sciences. As British scientist and novelist C. P. Snow points out, these two cultures are oftentimes divided thus causing poor interaction between the two. Looking further into what he had to say, I was appalled to discover that those in the arts only themselves as intellectuals thereby disregarding those in the sciences. Such a claim and other subjective differences culturally divide the two cultures. Furthermore, scientists though making discoveries failed to imply uses of such discoveries. Reflecting upon Snow’s analysis, John Brockman hints to the existence of a third culture in which scientists would be able to make those implications. Personally, I would not simply confine those in the third culture to only be scientists but rather those who have an active role in both fields.

Though more jokingly, such polarization does exist here at UCLA. Depending on your major and where your classes are located, students are considered either North Campus students (primarily Arts and Humanities majors) or South Campus students (primarily Science and Technology majors). Students who brandish the North Campus title often relate to their outstanding GPA, good looks (Note: This is probably an exaggeration.) and their ability to produce works that appeal to people’s senses or emotions whereas those with the South Campus title relate to the abundance of job offers, future six-figure paychecks (Note: This could also be an exaggeration) and the importance their study is for humanity. I believe the Cabaret for UCLA Freshmen Orientation clearly sums this up:

[A Whole New World - UCLA North vs South Campus]

“The worlds between arts and engineering exist only in our minds.” – Theo Jansen

I recently stumbled upon Theo Jansen, a Dutch kinetic sculptor. His works are deemed as aesthetic marvels in engineering and truly inspirational. As his occupation reveals in its title, his sculptures kinetically come to life powered by such natural forces as the wind. Not only do the sculptures manage to amaze those viewing them, their movements are governed by the understanding of science and mathematics. The following is a video displaying his kinetic sculptures:

[Theo Jansen - Kinetic Sculptor]