Archive for the ‘Week 8 - SPACE’ Category

Week9_CNSI Sound & Science Symposium 2009 by adam marcus

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

I attended the second day of events (Friday). I rushed over after a class and watched the majority of the 3-4 pm presentation and then got to see the full 4-5 pm presentation.


FIRST: Music for the Eyes: Visual Music Films


This was definitely the more enjoyable presentation I saw. It was a compilation of clips from various works displayed on the widescreen. The only thing that made me pretty frustrated was the lady with microphone who continued to end the clips short so they could keep moving along.


I found the combination of animated visuals and space age sounds incredibly fascinating and entertaining. My favorites out of the ten or so that I saw included: Norman McLaren’s Synchromy, Sylvia’s Impossible Spaces, and Brilliant Noise.


Synchromy, which I believe we saw a clip of in class, was a visual that correlated directly to the sounds produced. The visual was basically vertical lines with flashing blocks. Wider blocks represented lower tones and more blocks and vertical lines were added as the piece continued. The piece to me was very enjoyable and made me feel like I was seeing the notes I was hearing.


Impossible Spaces was very impressive visually. There were separate sections, such as cubic and conical. The cubic piece was a colorful montage of straight lines folding over each other towards a center. The cubes proved to impossibly fold and morph over themselves to the sound of mechanical, metallic sounds.


Lastly, Brilliant Sounds was a very interesting scientific piece. It was a solely black and white visual of images of the sun. It was a compilation of NASA’s “uncleaned” images taken my telescopes or satellites. The images were so extraordinary, so unique, that littlest details of was incredible. I particularly liked the distorted and strobe like visuals because they gave a perspective that no ever sees..


SECOND: Aesthetics of Natural Radio


I found this presentation less entertaining and more informational than the first piece. It was given by Douglas Kahn, and centered on the Natural Radio. Natural Radio is the group of sound waves that are capable of being transmitted through the area of the electromagnetic waves that overlap with the frequencies of sound waves. They do need to have a terrestrial origin and are amplified through the ionosphere and the magnetosphere. The sounds play on VLF (very low frequency) and are commonly called “whistlers”. Thomas Watson (one of the inventors of the telephone) is supposedly one of the first to hear static currents. He played an interesting clip of the sounds picked up at the beginning. He also mentioned that some of the sounds were once recorded and made into a record:  “Out Of This World” and “Ionosphere”. His talk admired the discovery and expanded upon his own related interests and involvement in the development of the field.


-Adam Marcus

Week #8: Space, Chaos, and Chance by Jeff Poirier

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

The concept of space is quite daunting to say the least. Our human existence, seemingly the end all of importance, is truly miniscule in the context of all else that is, has, or ever will be. The animation presented in lecture that scaled all of space in dimensions of ten really stirred up the confusion of what life and meaning are. The illustration of the tenth-dimension also invoked a sense of inherent human ignorance. The frustrating and near inconceivable nature of the dimensions above our own make one call into question his or her own understanding of reality. What are we as humans? Are we honestly nothing more than the vibrations of a googolplex of quarks at one-ten thousandth of an Angstrom? Or are we the flesh, blood, and bones that we experience every day? Or are we an infinitesimal speck in a vast expanse of existence?  Or is it possible that we are all of these simultaneously, carrying out our self-concerned lives unaware of the minute nature of our reality?

The philosophical and, at times, incomprehensible questions that arise around the idea of space are highly intriguing. Historically, the extreme labors of humanity to conquer the understanding of space are evidence of our fear of other possibilities. From Sputnik, to man on the moon, to the Mars Rover, humans have been trying to surmount the incomprehensibility that is space. Perhaps, despite all this concerted effort, we as humans are not meant to understand all that is. Perhaps we are only meant to exhaust ourselves on what is the immediate reality we know.

In lecture, the concept of chance and chaos fell into discussion as the only constant in all that is existence. The works of Gil Kuno of Unsound strive to parallel this understanding by employing chaos and chance into the equation that normally computes our everyday realities of order. I found this endeavor to be quite inspiring as it comes from an angle not always considered. For example, Six String Sonics, The takes the comfortable and understood concept of the guitar and distorts it into an unchartered territory of musical exploration. By placing the fate of the composition into the hands of six musicians rather than one, as well as making all the strings of the guitar available for play at all times, the chaos and chance of personal choice and interpretation move the melodies and chords beyond the restrictions that the conventional understanding of guitar hold to. Another piece that employs this idea of chaos and chance is the auditory Slinky composition in which the sounds of Slinkies are recorded as they fall down a ladder in sequences. In this instance, the physics and chance of how and where the Slinkies fell, partially compounded with the free will decisions of the performers dropping the “instruments,” organized itself into a cacophony. However, to the surprise of the listener, this seemingly uncontrollable medium develops a composition that has order and discernable organization.

I believe that the work presented by Gil Kuno and the discussion of space coincide with one another quite well. The chance and chaos of molecules, cells, and dimensions that organize into our very existence and the chance and chaos of the Unsound exhibitions parallel each other in nature. Space is inherently difficult to understand. At the same time, humans inherently try to find meaning and clarity in all that is chaos. Thus, space and the truths that it holds may exist beyond the bounds of human comprehension.

Below is a link to another video that puts the human existence on a scale, measuring our significance:

-Jeff Poirier 

Abstract by Eric Debbold

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

For my final project I do not think I will expand on my idea for the midterm.  Though the idea interested me, I feel like I played out that thought experiment, and not much can be added in any meaningful manner.  Instead, I will develope a new idea.  I hope to use a complex combination of illusions to help to illustrate the subjective way we all view the world, and to move people out of thier comfort zones by exposing how our perceptions can betray us.  These illusions will include traditional visual illusions, the use of audio illusions, proprioceptive illusions…any way in which i can trick the mind of the viewer into doubting thier own sense of reality.

Week_8 EXTRA CREDIT: Beatriz da Costa’s Invisible Earthlings. By Nicolina Greco

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

On Friday, February 27, 2009 I attended artist Beatriz da Costa’s Invisible Earthlings opening exhibition. When I walked into the small exhibition room, it was quiet, the lights were dimmed down low, and spot lights were lit upon shelves mounted against the two main walls containing specimens of microbes in petri dishes. There were 6 different shelves set up, and each shelf had two or more microbe specimen samples collected from 6 different placesaround Beatriz da Costa’s home. Viewers were able to learn about each microbe specimen on a small touch-screen electronic display above each shelve which contained an informative write-up about the specific microbe, including where it was found in her home, and where the microbe is commonly seen. 

The exhibit was quite interesting. I recall learning about 3 microbes in particular and remember being fasinated by what I learned. First, I observed the microbe Penicillium, which was found on the artist’s butterfly bush in her garden. Penicillium is a fungus that is used for many things, including the production of cheeses, such as Brie Cheese, and the commonly used antibiotic Penicillin. I also observed the microbe Yeast, a microbe she found on a chair that is commonly used to make bread and alcoholic beverages, and Lactobacillus, a microbe she found on her porch, which is found in the human vagina and gastrointestinal tract. I could not believe that these microbes are actually present all around us, and not just in the places where we most commonly see them. Who would have thought that a fungus that helps produce cheese would be found on the leaves of plants in your garden? It really makes me wonder what microbes are present on my laptop as I am typing this blog, or on my clothing or pen or shoes…

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet the artist and talk to her about her exhibition. She told me that through her work, she wanted to break the notion that microbes are only associated with things that are harmful and cause problems, and wanted to stress that they in fact surround us and are present in our environment everywhere. I definitely understood this concept by observing her exhibition, and am now more aware that microbes are inside me and all around me. I am also now aware that there are good microbes and bad microbes present in the world, and that just because society likes focus on the bad ones does not mean that all microbes are harmful. This exhibit was awesome and I am glad I got the opportunity to check it out and learn something new about science through art!

By: Nicolina Greco

Week 8- Stars and Astrology/Abstract by Angelica Merida

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Man has been curious about space since he first looked up at the sky and saw the stars. Ever since, it’s been a constant quest to discover what lies beyond our little planet and if we really are alone in the universe. Science has been plagued with various questions, do black holes exists? What happens if you enter one?, are there other life sustainable planets? How is a planet created? What happens when a planet dies? Do planets actually die? Are there other living beings out there? What do they look like? And many other questions. Art and religion, likewise, has taken all these answers and has provided answers drawn from the human imagination and understanding of space. Many of the modern constellations used today were created by the Babylonians and the Greeks based on mythological stories and depict animals or scenes.

These stars have also been interpreted to have a sort of power over the lives of individuals based on the position of the stars on the day and time of their birth. According to the Zodiac, people born during a time period in which one constellation is directly north of their birthplace are said to display characteristics common amongst other people born under the same constellation. Accordingly, the person understands how the stars were positioned in their twelve houses on the day of their birth; they can more or less better understand their nature and what lies ahead of them. True practitioners of astrology/zodiac signs, do not claim to know the future or practice fortune telling, but rather aim for a better understanding of personalities and human nature. Most people follow astrology as a form of entertainment.

Like the Western zodiac, there is also the Chinese zodiac which unlike astrology does not calculate the positions of the constellation in relation to the sun, planets, and sky, but rather is based on Chinese philosophy, wu xing teachings, and the principle of yin and yang. Although many believe the Chinese zodiac is limited to the 12 animal signs based on year of birth, the zodiac is no limited to just year. The animal of year of birth is said to be how other perceive you, your zodiac month is said to be the inner animal and based on hour and day you can discover your secret animal.

The influence of the stars over man’s understanding of the self can also be found in Indian astrology. Known as Jyotisa, Hindu astrology has the same basis of 12 signs like that in Western philosophy. However, rather than using tropical zodiac like in Western astrology, Jyotisa uses sidereal zodiac in which the primary feature has the constellations aligned with the zodiac of the same name.


We live in a world that is constantly aiming at better efficiency without the need for more human effort. In the world of computers, technology is constantly developing new forms of interacting with information and creating new forms of experience. This project aims at harnessing the new technology of multi-touch interfacing to provide a different space in which the possibility of various realities can coexist allowing for the user to create and live experiences previously unavailable to them. This project can not only provide users with a useful tool for productivity, but can also serve users as a haven. When life sometimes seems uncontrollable, with the aid of this space users can escape reality and create their own perfect one with just the touch of their finger.

Week 8_ A New Frontier by Braxton Little

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Almost every kid at some point in their life watches a powerful space ship take off, flames thundering out of the engines, and wishes they could be in that space ship, on its way to explore the limits of space. What about this unbounded, dark, and daunting subject interests us so much? I believe that it is the fact that as long as this world has been studying and going to space, we still have barely skimmed the surface of what actually is beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. This fear of the unknown has caused a space race. We do not know what is out there, and therefore strive to be the first ones to discover something that no one else has ever seen or heard of before.
The fact that astounds me the most is the realization that we are just a miniscule part of the actual universe. Earth is a dot in space, a small planet that we just happen to be a part of. The video that we watched in class, showing the Earth as the camera got farther and farther away reminded me that no matter what happens on Earth, the stars and the galaxy surrounding us in unaffected. One of Carl Sagan’s videos,

expands on this idea, and shows images of the earth in relation to the galaxy. We then also have to remember that we can compare our galaxy in relation to other galaxies, but unfortunately we have not been able to explore that far yet and no pictures have been taken. Many people refuse to believe that anything goes on in other galaxies, dismissing any thought of other life forms. However, for those people interested in exploring the unknown, other forms of life has been a heated topic over the years.
I am also interested in how the lack of knowledge about space and other forms of life has lead to many different speculations regarding just what is out there, and interactions between humans and “aliens.” It has opened the door for any type of theory to be studied before deemed true or false. For example, crop circles have been appearing on large fields for centuries. It is very possible that large groups of humans could make crop circles. However, because people speculate that aliens are making them, and we do not know enough about other forms of life to deny that fact, almost everyone knows that crop circles are associated with aliens. Whether or not it is true, (almost completely false) because no one can explain why aliens would or would not make them, it is common for people to accuse aliens of crop circles.

The same is for UFO’s. These flying objects are considered the way aliens transport themselves around space. Many people, both crazy and sane, have claimed to either have seen UFO’s or have a picture of something in the sky they believe to be one. Thus, whenever someone claims to have seen one, it makes news around the world. This is because we will take any information that we can about space. Whether phony or real, someone will study the picture of the UFO, or the patterns of the crop circles, so see if there is any connection to some sort of other life form. We still cannot confirm or deny the existence of other life forms in space, and these sightings will continue to occur throughout the world.

Professor Vesna also talked about the “space race” that has developed between different countries of the world. Obviously, getting to mars has been a major goal of most space-oriented people, and the first to get there would be admired by all. This desire to learn about the unknown has caused intense competition between countries. I would say that the United States and Russia are the leading the rest of the world in the discovery and learning of space, but who knows these days. While the competition has caused some fighting between the two, it has also opened the door to many research teams, massive funding, and exploration to planets that no one could have imagined. In the end, I believe the space race has helped out world out, and caused people to become very interested in the discovery of space.

All these speculations raise many questions about the future of the Universe.  Will we ever find another form of life? Is it possible that someday a distant planet can be colonized by people who once lived on Earth? Will we ever be able to explore outside of the galaxy?  My list of questions could go on and on.  The unknown is always a difficult subject to dwell on.  Due to the inquisitive attitude of humans, we will always want to know about the unknown, and will continue to pursue knowledge until the end of the Earth.


         I am not completely sure at this point, but I believe that I am going to expand my midterm project for the final project.  I would like to explore the idea of clones, and how they differ in brainwaves.  I want to create a machine that makes a virtual clone of someone, and explores their emotions through brain waves when confronted with certain images.  I hope that I can connect this to society’s desire to conform and generalize everything.  Showing that as hard we try to make things the same, it is the world’s inevitable path that disorder and differences will occur.  My research will explore brain waves, clones, and evidence supporting the overall increase in disorder of the world, despite our efforts to decrease it.

Abstract by Sarah Lechner

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

For my final project, I will be expanding on the project proposal I used for my midterm. I proposed that I would build a renewable energy garden where the windmills are functional works of art. There will also be statues inlayed with solar panels. I will expand my idea by adding more types of renewable energy to the garden. I would like to incorporate hydropower in an artistic way. I will also research other forms of renewable energy sources and incorporate these as well.

Week 8_ The Beginning and End of the Universe by Sarah Lechner

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

The era of life on Earth is such a small slice of time in comparison to the time line of the universe.  The existence of humans takes up an even smaller space on this time line of our universe.  Pondering this puts our every day lives seem very insignificant in comparison to the huge span of time that has existed before us.  From another angle, the earth is such a small part of the universe.  This was put into perspective by the guest speaker last lecture when he showed us the video that began with a man at a picnic and zoomed out all the way past the galaxies surrounding us to millions of light years away.  It is so astounding to me that the universe is so expansive.  The vastness of the universe that envelops us contributes to its mysterious qualities.  Even with the advanced telescopes and other technology we have developed, we can only see so far into the seemingly never ending universe.  As if the universe isn’t large enough, it is constantly expanding.  

This brings us to the most widely accepted theory of the beginning of the universe: the Big Bang.  Scientists theorize that the universe began as an infinitesimally small point that exploded violently and has been expanding ever since.  This explanation brings about even more questions.  What lies outside of the universe? Will the universe continue expanding forever? Did anything exist before the big bang? Are there other alternate universes?  These questions may never be able to be answered.  

Where science fails us, we begin to look towards religion.  Many religions attempt to answer these questions relating to the beginning and end of the universe.  One explanation that I find very interesting is that of the Hindu religion.  The Hindu’s believe that there are “World Cycles.”  One cycle consists of an expansion and contraction of the universe.  Therefore, there are multiple big bangs, where each one constitutes the beginning of a new world cycle.  If we consider this to be true, this means that eventually our universe will discontinue its expansion and begin to contract until all matter converges and becomes so dense that it explodes, in effect beginning the cycle all over again.  In effect, the Hindu’s believe that there really is no end of the universe, just an oscillation between expansion and contraction.

This video helps to explain our current cycle of the universe:
World Cycles 

Not all theories coincide with this one, of course.  The ancient Mayans were very much into astronomy and the time line of the universe.  The Mayan calenders were well documented and are surprisingly accurate.  According to these calendars, the universe is predicted to end on December 23, 2012.  The calendar has been very prophetic throughout history, so this tends to be a very scary thought for many people.  The Mayans were master astronomers and this end date matches up with the earth lining up with the sun and the center of the milky way galaxy.  Current day astronomers verify that this will happen in 2012.  Some scientists theorize that the poles will realign on Earth.  Some people think that this correlates with the end of life on Earth, while others see it as a positive event.  This day looms closely in the distance, making the event all the more upsetting.

The following video discusses the Mayan Calender and 2012:
The Mayan Calendar

Final Project Proposal - Jeff Poirier

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

My proposal for my final project is an expansion of my midterm topic. Because my midterm topic was based on humanity’s dependence on circles and geometry, my final project will be an interactive exhibition that involves this idea. Participants will enter a room that is a simulator and experience an everyday situation that people from all walks of life understand. However, as the simulation progresses, the situation will change. Circular and spherical objects will no longer exist. The wheels on a car, plates at the dinner table, letters and numbers, all sorts of things that are taken for granted will be gone. A “day in the life” will be drastically different.

-Jeff Poirier

Week 8_ Space & Astrology/Abstract by Nicolina Greco

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Space Through the 4th Dimension

This week we learned about space, a topic that I have always been interested in. I feel like there is always something new to learn about space and about life outside plant Earth that it is almost overwhelming. The video that the guest speaker showed us in class about how vast our galaxy is was intriguing, but very hard to conceptually grasp. Visualizing space as a 4th dimension, a topic we discussed earlier in the quarter, is not easy to conceptualize because it is not physically apparent to the human eye, and because for many the idea of the existence of a 4th dimension is beyond our understanding. Similar to how the famous verse “seeing is believing” is told, unless we get the opportunity to travel to space and see  for ourselves what life is like outside of our planet, we will we not truly be able to understand the physical enormity of the universe we live in. 

A topic that always comes to mind when I think about space, which I believe is pertinent to the theme of this class, are the studies of astronomy and astrology. Up until the 18th century and the end of the Renaissance Era , astronomy and astrology were indistinguishable subjects in their studies of astronomical observation. When the two subjects eventually  separated,    astronomy distinguished itself as the scientific study of astronomical objects in space and phenomena, while astrology became the study of understanding these phenomena. It seemed as if the two separated into realms of “how” verses “why,” which I believe relates the realms of science verses art.  According to, “Astrology is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs which hold that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide useful information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters.” I believe that the field of astrology is the art of finding deeper meanings and understanding why certain celestial bodies are arranged in space, where as astronomy is the science behind how these astronomical objects function. I think that space is fascinating because its greatness inspires so many different researchers, thinkers, and problems solvers to make sense of its existence. Many people would not initially relate the field of astrology to art, but when thinking about how our society is so drawn to horoscopes within their zodiac signs, I could not help but to ponder about this topic. 

Astrologers once recognized the band of constellations which the Sun, Moon, and planets transit through across the sky and called it the zodiac. The zodiac consists of 12 constellations, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces, each of which astrologers considered the most important due to their interactions with the sun and the moon. Astrologers believe that the way that the sun and moon are arranged when you are born corresponds with a certain constellation at that given time, which will thus explain your personality and how you function and perceive the world. Astronomers believe that the movements and positions of these constellations directly influence life on earth. I think it is fascinating that these astronomers can simply observe the patterns and alignments of stars in space, determine the movements of these constellations, and make theories as to how human beings relate to these objects in space! It is truly an art to be able to make theoretical and philosophical observations of these patterns and create horoscopes, which everyday people in society are interested in and enjoy to read about. I for one am amazed how similar my astrological horoscope relates to my everyday life, all due to artists and scientists exploration of the wonders of space. 

By: Nicolina Greco


For my final presentation, I will expand my midterm project by incorporating the theory of Chromotherapy, or color therapy, and its healing effect on human beings through the use of flowers into my project. I will propose a type of Chromotherapy treatment through which a patient becomes absorbed into the emotions put upon them by different colors of flowers. Patients with psychological disabilities will have to enter a dome surrounded with 360 degrees of the same color flower needed to for therapeutic treatment. My midterm, the invention of The Flower Optimizer, is used again in this project in the same way in order to change the desired color of each flower.