Archive for the ‘Week 8 - SPACE’ Category

Week 8 - Space by Jane Chen

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

With the dawn of the space exploration era, the fascination of objects beyond human reach has taken over many parts of the world.  The space race has resulted in many technological advances for zero-gravity experiments.  At the same time, many movies developed over the concept of space and its secrets.  One of the most recent and popular movies regarding the possibility of space colonization is Wall-E.  The movie depicted some of the consequences of human living, globalizaton, and industrialization (as evidenced by the completely uninhabitable planet), as well as the results of extensive space technology use: space trash.

With human imagination, there has also been increasing interest in the possibility of UFOs and aliens existing outside of planet Earth.  Besides Roswell, one region that many people question is the place known as Area 51, depicted in movies such as Independence Day and Tomb Raider 3.  Located in southern Nevada, Area 51 is a highly secretive military base that supports the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.  Due to its secretive nature, many people have formulated possible activities that go on beyond the high security borders.  In the 1950s and 60s, Lockheed used the area as a test site for the U2 spy plane as well as the blackbird prototypes.  In the proceeding years, some people have come forth claiming to have been former Area 51 researchers who worked with aliens (particularly one named J-Rod) as well as engineering on flying saucers and extraterrestrial aircraft that has landed in US government possession.

Although the idea of extraterrestrial life seems interesting, the actual possibility of life outside of earth remains questionable.  Continuous explorations of Mars prove to be unfruitful in terms of finding evidence of life (although there is now information regarding possible water sources on the planet).  The complex system of human life has been proven difficult to reproduce, as evidenced with the creation of Biosphere 2.  Biosphere 2 is a large 3 acre man-made, materially closed ecosystem in Arizona aimed at modeling the workings of the Earth’s atmosphere and biomes.  The first closed mission involved a group of 8 researchers.  They lived in the area for 2 years, growing their own food and conducting research in the closed environment.  Their experience proved that the workings of the Earth’s atmosphere proved far more complicated than putting all the ingredients together into a box.  Biosphere 2 suffered from large CO2 fluctuations that killed most of the vertebrae species and all pollinating insects.  Oxygen availbility also declined consistently, where the researchers eventually had to rely on oxygen injections to stay healthy.  A second mission was attempted in 1994 but was ended prematurely due to mangament and funding problems.

You can learn more about the current projects of Biosphere 2 here:


by Jane Chen

Week 8_Space by Dalton Abbott

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

The concept of space has always fascinated me through its mystique and  the many awe-inspring implications it creates. I’ve always enjoyed the humbling viewpoint of Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” , which simply suggests the indisputable notion that in terms of the universe, Earth and all it’s living beings are completely inconsequential. I feel as though this outlook allows me to put my existence in perspective in the sense that it makes me realize that I am not only only a minuscule fraction of Earth’s population, but the Earth’s existence as a whole is once again only a very tiny part of a much bigger picture. Though this realization can be somewhat frightening because of the mysteries of unexplored planets and galaxies and the suggested futility of life on Earth in the grand scheme of things, I embrace the reality of the situation and attempt to explore it in as many ways as I possibly can. Unfortunately, I’m not a math or science major, which doesn’t really allow me to explore the possibilities of outer space past a certain point. Last quarter, I had the good fortune to enroll in a GE science course called Space Weather. I had many preconceived notions about the general curriculum of the class and the general method through which the subject matter would be presented, all of which were shattered during the first five minutes of class. The class was almost immediately barraged with a multitude of mathematical formulas and physics concepts that were far more complicated than anything I had ever encountered in my entire life. Though I still enjoyed the class, I’m unable to truly comprehend many topics because of my extremely limited mathematical and scientific skills.

This is one of the main reasons I enjoyed Tuesday’s lecture so much. Fascinating topics such as U.F.O.’s, the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and the vastness of the universe were discussed within a context that I fully understood and appreciated. In looking back on the lecture topics and the role of space in everyday life, I’ve formed the opinion that there is no topic more completely appropriate for DESMA9, which deals largely with the relationship between art and technology in many fields and practices. I believe that my first initial attraction to space was the sheer beauty of seemingly everything related to it, ranging from the sun to the obviously incredible aurora borealis, both of which are pictured below. This photo of the sun was taken in ultraviolet light.

I appreciate art in virtually every sense imaginable, but can’t say that I’ve ever seen anything more visually stunning than the many wondrous physical displays caused by the existence of outer space. Next, of course, is the role of space in science and technology. The correlation between space, science and technology is palpable. Many would consider humanity’s continued exploration of space to be responsible for some of the greatest technological innovations to date, such as the Mars rover and more importantly, the satellite, which now plays a role in almost every aspect of technology-based human life, from credit card processing to internet to television. NASA currently has websites regarding recent technological innovations that are open to public view, such as Space Technology 6. The type of thinking that the lack of knowledge (not so much now compared to fifty years ago) of space requires grants scientists so much creativity and freedom, in my opinion, that it allows them to conceptualize in ways not possible in dealing with the terrestrial world. Essentially, the concept of space not only expands the potential for innovation and invention, but expands the mind as well. I remember  Professor Vesna playing Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”, and now more than ever, I completely understand why. Space manages to encapsulate the main themes of DESMA9 more effectively than any other topic has the potential to dot.

- Dalton Abbott

Final project proposal: I plan to expound upon my midterm idea of creating a highly specific compilation of a subject’s brain activity while watching a variety of films. I will specify in greater detail the types of conclusions that the tests will produce and speak more specifically about the various ways this information can be utilized in modern society and more specifically in the film industry. The majority of my project will involve an attempted model of how the test would be conducted, and a replica of the results a test would give from a certain movie that is yet to be decided.I will then discuss the significance of these results and how they can be applied in the aforementioned areas.

Week 8_space: UFO in Art? by zoo duck hwang

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John

Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John

Have you find UFO in above old painting? If not, let me give you a hint. What is the shepherd at the left shoulder of Madonna looking at? Now, you can see the flying disk with lights, which most of us like to define as UFO (Unindentified Flying Object). If the thing you just saw was really UFO, it would be the strong indication which supports the people who believe spacecraft routinely visit our planet for hundreds of years. I am sorry for making the fellahs disappointed, but the thing on the painting turns out to be not UFO if the contextual information of the above painting is correctly understood.   

First, there is rays of light coming down from this flying disk, which might be thought of as some kinds of laser communications system to us who are exposed to many sci-fi fictions. However, this ray scene is found in many religious paintings to express the sacred moment when an angel comes out of clouds.

the tondo of Palazzo Vecchio

the tondo of Palazzo Vecchio

Vincenzo Foppa

Vincenzo Foppa

So, the ray scene should be thought of as “[a] specialized iconographic language that modern viewers no longer understand” (Cuoghi). Thus, in this painting, the ray scene depicts the cloud with lightening rays which is the moment right before an angel comes out of the cloud.

Secondly, shepherd vision should be explained as one of iconographic languages, too. Truly, many other religious paintings have the shepherded with the hand on the forehead whenever there is the angel coming out of the cloud lined by golden rays.

To sum up under the correct historical backgrounds,  it is evident that the flying object in this painting is not at least an alien spacecraft, but rather angel’s ride, and the shepherd is waiting for an angel’s appearance. By the way, here are some facts. 

Additional fact #1: ‘Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John’ is the one of the favorite paintings for many UFOlogists to be referred to prove the frequent visit of alien spacecraft to the earth.

Additional fact #2: For some reason, people have started seeing UFOs in the sky since the first release of many Scifi movies. 


Final project abstract

In the midterm project, diffusion art, the aesthetics of the random motion of ink diffusion was lightened up by the combination of filming techniques and chemistry. As expanded from the midterm project, in this time, the diffusion art is proposed to apply to art therapy. The dome-structured room is equipped with the super-sensor system which can analyze a patient’s emotional state based on voice, body temperature, breath, and brain waves. The analyzed patient’s emotion is delivered to the robot with artificial consciousness. As reacting to the signal, the robot chooses the proper color of ink and performs diffusion art over the wall of the room to improve the patient’s emotional well-being.          

zoo duck hwang


Week 8_Space and Gil Kuno’s works_by Nikolaos Mouchtouris

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

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If you look up the word space on the dictionary, all the non-scientific definitions given are related to an empty, blank area, where there is nothing going on. Nowadays though, the developing sciences have enabled humans to study the outer space and find out how interesting it is because, even though it seems relatively empty, with a few tiny dots, it is endless and full of unlimited universes. What are we? We are just a tiny grain of sand in a huge world, which we can barely imagine of. The truth is that scientists have achieved to see very far away resulting in public awareness of what exists around us, but in the ancient times and Middle Age, people believed that the earth was flat. What is funny is that we both lived in the same place and saw the same three dimensions, yet only the recent years, we were able to find out that there are ten actual dimensions. Each one results from the folding of the previous one, and the assumption that the previous acts as a point in space, which when connected with a similar one, a new dimension is created. If I remember correctly, the video we saw in class was slightly inaccurate, as according to the M-theory, there are eleven dimensions; this theory unifies and supersedes all of the rest string theories.

I am not going to lie, but all these theories about the dimensions of the universe are very confusing; even though I am a science major, I am not really excited by such theories because they have no real-life application, they do not affect who we are or what we do. I would be interested in something more practical and “visible”. Perhaps, it is easier for an artist to perceive and understand such an abstract scientific theory.

Furthermore, during the last lecture, Gil Kuno, showed us a couple of his works and explained the underlying concept for each of these. During the weekend, I went on his site and looked at other pieces of art he has created. He is a very creative individual with many good ideas, such as the “wailing wall” and the “six sonic strings”, however some other works were rather trivial. For example, the “European Onion” initially seemed ingenious, however, using simple reasoning, you can figure out that unless the museumgoers start sobbing and are covered by a sea of their own tears, their perception will not be altered, thus, being able to clearly see a couple of hanging onions.

Though, his work is totally respectable and I find most of his ideas very interesting. My favorite one is the pogophonic, as he lets the pogo stick compose music. The natural movement of the pogo creates the music, thus making the pogo-er’s skills and technique responsible for the music composed. Even though it becomes slightly annoying after a bit, it is very creative, cool and fun. I feel I appreciate this work more than the rest because it is both applicable to real life, easily understandable, plus it creates art.

Nick Mouchtouris

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

The lecture this past week got me interested and i started doing a little research on some interesting things in space.  It really was actually some of the most enjoyable research I’ve ever done. This week, what i found most interesting during my research were black holes. I realize that supernovas, exploding stars, etc can be somewhat redundant, but very few things that i read were repeatative.  This just goes to show how quickly knowledge in science changes( doubles every ten years :)   Below is a visual of a “supermassive black hole.”

A black hole is actually a region in space, created by dying stars with a mass somewhere around 20 times the mass of our sun, in which nothing, including light(electromagnetic radiation) can escape. The escape can’t occur past the event horizon, which is the line defined by the theory of relativity in which an observer is not affected by anything past the line and vice versa. To escape the earth’s gravitational pull, whatever it is must be traveling at 11 kilometers/second.This is when we apply a Newtonian approach.  However this becomes somewhat difficult when you realize that light, a massless object is affected by the pull of the black hole.  To resolve this, we resort to Eienstein’s theory of relativity. In a nutshell, Einsteins theory of relativity states that time and space are not independent concepts, but rather that something cannot move forward in space without moving forward in time etc. It also states that nothing can change its position in space in a smaller period of time than light.  Anyone who wants to research it further should focus on the spacetime continuum.   When addressing the issue of the gravitational pull, it’s interesting to note that the black hole can increase in mass.  This is actually where the correllation drawn between the mass of the dying star and whether or not a black hole is created becomes important.  When a certain amount of mass is present in a “sufficient” amount of space, all paths in space etc are directed towards the center of that mass in a path in which not even radation or light can escape.  Even interstellar dust is pulled towards a black hole.

Something else i found rather interesting was that black holes may have a finite lifespan.  Research currently indicates that black holes may emit a form of thermal radiation, know formally as Hawking radiation. This emission of energy suggests that, unless it is infinite, it will one day run out, implying a finite number of days to exist!  This is also in reference to the theory of relativity in which mass is merely highly condensed energy.  So it’s somewhat of a weird war between gain and constant loss of mass.  It’s also speculated that a supermassive black hole( that one’s self explanatory) exists at the center of every large galaxy.  This implies that the two are obviously connected in some way.  Scientist are actually quite positive, currently anyway, that a supermassive black hole exists somewhere in the milky way.

Another really interesting fact that has nothing to do with black holes is cold welding.  I found this researching black holes and it’s interesting to find that contact welding, in which no form of fusion etc exists.  That by the force of adhesion, and a possibly more ductile surface, two metals can weld and stick together in space.  Also is a great resource for links on black holes!

Final Abstract by nolan nishimura

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

I will design a room to simulate a situation similar to being blind. Users will try to do everyday tasks that blind people have to deal with. This entails creativity on the user’s part because they will need to come up with alternative ways to overcome challenges without the use of their vision. Through this simulation, users will hopefully come to fully appreciate some of the things they take for granted. At the end of the simulation, the user will be asked to create a work of art without looking at it. Users will also be asked to write about their experience in the exhibit two weeks after. This will hopefully create a certain level of personal tweaks to the experience which can be interesting in exploring consciousness.

Nolan Nishimura

Week 8_Space by nolan nishimura

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Outer space has always been referred to as the final frontier due to the fact that it is vast and its entirety cannot be seen, only imagined. The lack of knowledge of space makes it all the more wondrous and mysterious, drawing in scientists and artists alike to explore the idea of the vast, boundless universe. As technology becomes more advance, our understanding of the world around us gets better. Through this understanding, it can be possible to explain how everything started, an idea often debated in science. One theory called the Big Bang was first proposed by Georges Lemaitre. Georges was an interesting person in the sense that he was both a priest and a scientist. He strayed from the idea of a higher entity creating our universe and instead explained its creation using Einstein’s theory of relativity. The Big Bang basically explains that the universe was first an extremely dense and hot state. It then expanded into what we know as the present universe.

Apart from the scientific explanations and rationalizations of how the universe possibly formed, artists can explore the idea as well. Films often incorporate space due to the fact that space can be said to be “up for grabs.” So little is known which promotes many theoretical explanations and happenings to be used. For example, the film The Day the Earth Stood Still is a story about an alien coming to Earth to stop the humans from destroying their planet. It is then found out that the aliens probably control more planets than just Earth, possibly creating them, and make decisions about the planet in order to preserve its wellbeing, in this case destroying the humans. Although this explanation for the possible creation of the earth and the universe is highly improbable, it could still be theoretically possible. We may never know how the universe was created due to a lack of evidence that probably disappeared sometime along the lifetime of the universe.

The idea of space as the final frontier is also interesting due to human nature. As humans we like to conquer new areas and control them, as noted from our history. The Europeans sent out ships to explore the new land across the ocean in order to conquer them in the name of their countries. Then the Americans pushed the Native Americans westward when they expanded across the North American Continent. Now that all the land has been taken, there is no more frontier for us to conquer. Space can fill in this gap. There has already been a race to build satellites and rockets that reach outer space around the time of the cold war. This was popularly called the “Star Wars” era in which Russia and USA competed to send things out into space, as seen in class. The giant enigma that is space will continue to pull in our attention due to the big unknown that it presents.

This is an artist named Robert E. Gilbert who often created images for science fiction articles during the 1950s through the 1970s. His images were his representation and his ideas of what is out there in the universe.

Nolan Nishimura

Week 8 - Space by Tung X. Dao

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

The exploration of space has lead humans into the deepest and most intimate parts of physics. Ever since Einstein came along and gave humanity the idea of relativity, we have to deal with its consequences. Things that don’t make sense must make sense. Faster-than-light travel is no longer possible. Time and length dilation leads to bizarre contradictions that should not be. Ideas such as his lead to a revolution in thinking about the world we live in. It turns over the long standing ideas that Newton has set forth. Within the last century, we have been able to understand just how enormous the scale of the universe is and how complex the rules that govern it are.

It is a very simple concept that is difficult to execute. With just 4 simple patterns, Steve Reich wrote an epic 20 minute piece.

It is a very simple concept that is difficult to execute. With just 4 simple patterns, Steve Reich wrote an epic 20 minute piece.

There was mention of John Cage in Thursday’s lecture that led to how space and music are related to one another. After having studied music for about 10 years, there is an interesting pattern in musical development that arises. Formal music theory started at around the same time as Newton in the Vatican, which had quite a bit of control over just about everything back then. One of the very early rules about musical perfection dealt with tonality. To avoid a lengthy explanation what of why they decided this, let’s just say that singing one note avoided all the issues with having multiple notes. So at one point the most perfect music was monotonic. Naturally, people get bored of such things, and someone decided to diverge from this idea. And that was quite revolutionary. Over the next few centuries, more notes were added. Rather, they were allowed to be used. See, in tonal music, the melodies revolve around a tonal note. Again, quite naturally, after many years of allowing more notes to be used, a man named Schoenberg decided to get rid of tonality all together. He said that all notes in the scale should be allowed to be used, and they should be used equally. This idea is called serialism. It’s as complicated as music has gotten in the western world. Now, back to the man named John Cage. His and another man named Steve Reich’s idea was that music should not be that complicated. Their response to the complexity of serialism was called minimalism.

In minimalism, one takes a very simple idea and repeat it over a long period of time, and over time change it slowly to reveal subtle changes in the pattern. Steve Reich wrote a piece called “Piano Phase”, in which there are two pianos and two pianists. One pianist starts with a simple pattern, and then, after a time, the second pianist joins in with the same pattern. The second pianist then speeds up an ever so little bit such that his pattern is ahead of the first pianist’s by one note. And this is repeated until the pattern catches up again and the piece goes on to the next section. This idea was quite revolutionary in music.

How this is related to space exploration can be revealed in the “Orders of Ten” video that was shown. As one travels away from our galaxy, the more the universe starts to look like the smallest structures in atoms. This repetitive nature is very similar to the nature of “Piano Phase”. From unison, to patterns of organized chaos, and back to unison. This is the nature of the universe, of the cosmos, and of the arts.

Stars are also like that. In the link below, a flash application allows one to experiment with a star’s attributes and see the phases it goes through. One can adjust mass, amount of metal contained in the star, and how long the star has been living. Then, press play and see the star move through time, growing and growing, until it may suddenly expand many times, and then collapse into a neutron star. It’s quite amusing.

Tung X. Dao


Final Proposal

It is an elaboration of some of the exhibits in the photography museum, with more specifics on the exhibits that would be included. For instance, a movie screen can be comprised of fiber optic cables, for a number of reasons. Another exhibit would explore holograms and the theoretical possibility of storing all the visual data of an entire movie within one piece of film.

my short project proposal, theme park motivation by thomas yeung

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

my project will be exploring the concept of motivation. there are two types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from, according to Wikipedia, “… when people are internally motivated to do something because it either brings them pleasure, they think it is important, or they feel that what they are learning is significant.” extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the student. Examples are money and good grade. Another interesting thing to learn about motivation is that motivated workers are more quality oriented. Last time I created a museum to explore the homelessness issue, I am thinking about creating a theme park that explores the concept of motivation. I also haven’t figured out how my project will relate to all the major themes discussed in class… maybe I can do that like this… there is a spaceship ride that relates to space and explains what motivates astronauts to go to space…

week 8. Gil, Randomness in art, space by Dwayne Myhre

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Creative art is an interesting field to get into because it is a field that is completely objective; there is no right or wrong answer and there is no proof to claim that a piece of art is art or isn’t art.  Essentially it is an interpretative field that will always be appreciated by those who understand the art and will always be rejected by those who see the world as black or white.  What I am trying to get at here concerns the work of Gil Kuno of unsound.  While I think that it is great that he is expressing his creativity by use of say pig intestine or onions, I really do not understand what he is trying to get at with this art.  To be quite honest, such projects as the “European Onion” and the “Slinky Piece” seem rather juvenile because they don’t really require much skill or thought to accomplish.  Let’s be frank; dropping hundreds of slinky’s down a ladder? It is hardly an accomplishment one should be incredibly proud of because there is no meaning behind such an artwork for the artist…even someone such as I could accomplish such a feat because I am simply dropping sliky’s down a ladder.  I can understand some of Gil’s projects to be considered art, such as the music created by the Six String Sonics.  Not only does this project take thought and management, such as logistics, getting musicians, and coordinating the music arrangements, but it also requires the use of music, which is in itself an art.  In short, art should not just be something random that anyone can create; it should be something that has a personal touch, a personal meaning that is reflected by the artists, and only that artist, in the art.  I truly believe that is what art is, something that comes from the heart and can never be replicated by another person.

While some may argue that chance and randomness can be considered an art, such as with some of Gil’s pieces and the works of Jackson Pollock, I do not officially consider them art.  Maybe they did come from the heart of the artist, but how can that be when all that is done is art is left to chance?  Essentially, spilling buckets of paint in random spots and hoping for a result is the result of most of Pollock’s works.  He did not necessarily create something that was his own because people have been throwing paint down of paper and on walls for centuries.  Using the most cliché argument, anyone can create a random piece, and if anyone can create it then how is it art, how is it one artist’s art.  Although it may be beautiful, it is not art.

Before I leave this blog, I would like to make a short comment on art and space since such a topic was brought up in lecture.  I think that there is much validity in that art has influenced the expansion/knowledge of space and in vise versa space has had the same impact on art.  For example, we see this in films such as “Star Wars” or “E.T.” through the creation of such aliens, costumes, and transportations that may be in the used in space.  In addition, the science fiction worlds created hold a basis in art because they are a creation from one’s mind and provide a beauty to be withheld by all.  Thus, there is a connection between art and space.

Getting back to my displeasure of randomness as art, I would like to post a link that I found useful.
Final Abstract Proposal

Currently, people of all ages use drugs for experimental reasons, recreational reasons, or because they are so addicted to the drugs they cannot get off them.  In order to combat such a disaster of drug use people must understand the effects that drugs will do to their body and they must learn about them before they begin to take drugs.  There must be a “shock value” in learning so as to make sure people will never want to take a drug.  It is my hope that by creating a 3D simulation ride, the participants will virtually enter into the human body and experience the effects that drinking and smoking have on the body.  The purpose of such an attraction is to not only teach people what is actually going on in ones body as alcohol and tobacco are consumed, but also to bring forth the negative effects of drugs in order to convince people not to drink or smoke.  With such an experience, the negatives of drug use will outweigh any possible “positive” effects of drug usage.

By Dwayne Myhre