Posts Tagged ‘UCLA’

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]