Week 1- Two Cultures by Angelica Merida

So I’m a bit late, but cut me some slack I entered the class late. So as I understand it the first week revolved around the idea of two cultures, that of the scientific world, and that of the artistic world.

C.P Snow’s article, “Two Cultures” blames the separation between the natural sciences and the literary world on school and university curriculums. I couldn’t agree more. In an effort to create more specialized graduates, schools have failed to realized the importance of giving their students the opportunity for experimentation in other fields. A primary example of this can be found in UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television aka TFT.

I am a theater major in TFT. I chose UCLA because I wanted a wider education that I knew I could not receive if I had chosen to go to a conservatory. In TFT, I feel we are significantly limited to what we can expose ourselves to. With so many required classes, more so for the actors than us the designers, we have a very hard time being able to branch out and discover other fields of interests. I think it’s much more limiting for the actors, who have specific courses they must take each quarter in a particular order for fear of falling behind and then not completing the program. Mind you, most do not argue much with the situation considering that is why they are here. However, there are some of us who do want to branch out without the fear of limitation of units, course series, major requirements, or even upper division requirements. If we want to graduate on time, then study abroad is not an option during the school year.

I do agree with Snow very much, at UCLA it is very much evident in the North/South campus division. Each side has a serious misinterpretation of the other. However, I think we fail to notice the division and separation within these sides. For example, physically, the World Arts and Cultures majors are separated from the theater and film students, who are also separate from the music and vocal students. WAC majors are in Kaufmann, while film is in Melnitz, theater in Macgowan, and Music all the way by Schoenberg. Should not these disciplines be able to at least physically intermingle? Imagine the possibility of greater performance pieces if we involved the musicias, the singers, the dancers, and actors all together. And yet, we are all distinctly separated on this campus.Many of us complain about the lack of one thing or another in our shows or concerts, and fail to realize that perhaps that one thing that’s missing could be found in the other department. So as I see it, there is a 4th culture being created, where the disciplines within science and art are separating themselves and creating gaps that to me, only seem to get wider and larger.

In Stephen Wilson’s article, Myths and Confusions in Thinking about Art/Science/Technology, he brings up an interesting viewpoint, artists often only choose to oppose research and science and deny it rather than support it.

Take the artist Patricia Piccinini who had an exhibit titled “We are Family” which toured Europe for a while. The exhibit captures negative sentiments towards animal and plant cloning/hybridization.

But there are artist out there who do embrace science. Take Copenhagen’s Sydhavn. His 1999 piece titled “Evolution,” recreates a timeline of evolution through graffiti art. Spanning 170m, the piece begins with the Big Bang and ends with the Ice Age. Not only does it actually integrate scientific thought with art, but it also gives a good rep to graffiti as art. So unlike Wilson I would have to disagree, art is influenced by science as well, it’s just not so much in how the art is created, but rather the content within the pieces.

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